Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Road Fund in GH¢105m debt - Joe Gidisu blames NPP

Government says it is advancing GH¢2 million monthly to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to service a debt it says was incurred by the Kufuor administration to finance projects under the Road Fund.Roads and Highways Minister Joe Gidusu says the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government mortgaged the Road Fund for a loan of GH¢ 83million, generating a debt of GH¢105million so far.The Road Fund Act (536), established in 1977, was to finance routine and periodic rehabilitation of public roads in Ghana as well as assist metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to exercise their functions relevant to public roads under any enactment.Mr Gidisu said the previous government also cost contracts far beyond acceptable limits.For example a one-kilometre asphalt road which was supposed to cost between GH¢300,000 and GH¢400,000 was put between GH¢500,000 and GH¢1million.The former government gave out such contracts without recourse to its constrained budget, Mr Gidisu lamented.The minister said as a result of these, government has been unable to repair bad roads and build new ones and insists the previous administration is largely to blame.“This is a situation that had paralysed any effective work to be done. “The hue and cry that we have now in terms of our road network is as a result of the poor maintenance that had gone on over the years about our roads,” he told sit-in host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Evans Mensah.As at July 31st this year, government had been owing contractors to the tune of GH¢95.1million, a figure the minister said is expected to swell as more payment certificates from contractors trickle in.Mr Gidisu however disclosed that government has also paid an excess of GH¢66million to these contractors.He said the problem with the Road Fund has hit government so hard it has been compelled to freeze all road contracts awarded between November 2008 and January this year.Meanwhile Cabinet has approved a review of tolls charged at toll booths around the country, for onward transmission to Parliament for ratification.Mr Gidisu said the increase would boost funding for the Road Fund and ensure government is able to clear its outstanding debts in the roads sector.
Story by Fiifi Koomson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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