25.11.2005 General News

Minority Debunks Source Of Overpass Funding

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NDC govt designed and sought loan for Ashaiman-Tema Interchange Accra, Nov. 25, GNA - Mr Edward Salia, Minority Spokesman on Road Transport, on Friday said the Ashaiman - Tema Interchange had long been conceptualised and loans sought for its construction before the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came to power. Mr Salia, who was addressing a press conference in Parliament, said 20 million Euros had been secured from the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and approved by Parliament on 21st December 1999 for the rehabilitation of selected arterial roads in Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema under the Urban Roads Project then being implemented by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
The press conference was to react to the speech President John Agyekum Kufuor delivered at the inauguration of the Tema - Ashaiman Interchange.
He said since the previous government designed the project and secured funds for it there was no basis to suggest that it would have been implemented at a cost of more than 40 million Euros. He said the Ashaiman project was only one of the several projects financed with the loan.
Mr Salia said every government was entrusted with the responsibility of improving the living conditions of its people, "but coveting the positive initiatives and achievements of the previous regime without proper attribution is truly unacceptable".
President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday officially opened the 23 million-euro Tema - Ashaiman Interchange for public use. The ceremony, which was performed amidst pump and pageantry, also marked the formal handing over of the project to the Government by the contractors, Messr Sonitra.
The project sponsored by the French Government through Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), formed part of the Road Rehabilitation and Traffic Management Works in Tema and Sekondi-Takoradi designed by the Ministry of Road Transport.
The Tema component of the project, which commenced on April 7, 2003, comprised the construction of the Interchange at Ashaiman, reconstruction and upgrading of the main road to Tema Manhean and the improvement of a 3.2-kilometre access road for commuters from Ashaiman to Tema and Accra.
The French government provided 20 million euros and the government of Ghana counter funded with three million euros.
President Kufuor noted that the cost of the project was not inflated, saying: "The NPP Government did not take a 10 per cent kick-back as our detractors may want the public to think of us."
He described the project as value for money and suggested that in the past it would have cost Ghana more than 40 million euros to undertake such a project but the NPP government with the support of the French Government managed to get it for 23 million euros.
"This is just one of the many benefits of my visits to France and this project shall forever remain a monument to Ghana-France relations," he said.
President Kufuor noted that until Tuesday, driving from Ashaiman to nearby Tema and vice-versa took more than one hour, adding that this project would drastically ease traffic congestion on the Ashaiman portion of the Motorway.
He said the Government had to take vigorous steps to end the over a decade of traffic congestion that faced residents of the area.