AFTER nearly three months of negotiations, the Government of Ghana and Messrs Shanghai Construction Company Group of China last week signed the final contract in China, for the construction of the new $77 million stadia at Tamale and Essipong, near Sekondi, for the hosting of the African Cup of Nations championship in 2008.
A source close to Government told The Statesman in Accra yesterday that the contract was signed on behalf of Government by Afari Donkor, Ghana's Ambassador to China. The Ghanaian delegation present at the signing ceremony included Wilfred Edwin Osei Apatu, Chairman of the Evaluation Committee of the CAN 2008 stadia project, Dan Agyemang of the Office of the Chief of Staff and Osei Frimpong of the Ministry of Education and Sports. The Education & Sports Minister, who was to lead the delegation, pulled out of the trip in the final days, according to Castle sources.
The Chinese Company would undertake the two projects which are expected to be completed in October 2007 simultaneously and that a ground-breaking ceremony would take place at one of the sites November 15. The contract for the new Cape Coast stadium, and the renovation works at the Accra and Kumasi stadia are yet to be awarded. Government may revisit the discarded tendered bids as a way out, a source intimated.
The Ministry of Education & Sports is currently working at ensuring that water and electricity supply are extended to the two sites.
The source said the Ghanaian delegation to China among other things, ensured that certain reviews were made to the original architectural drawings. The two 20,000 seater stadia will now have included in their design a 40-room hotel (a change from the 25-room plan), a passage for physically challenged persons and a VIP Lounge.
“There is also a modern mechanically operated sprinkler, designed by a Professor at the Tongji University, which when activated, would clean off soggy grounds before and during games intervals when it rains,” the source revealed.
The Shanghai Construction Company Group, according to the source, was not new in the construction business in the country, since it was the same company that built the National Theatre in Accra over a decade ago.
It will be recalled that the award of the contract to the Chinese Company attracted some public criticism and the Minister of Education & Sports Yaw Osafo-Maafo, at a weekly press briefing, explained that Government decided to go for Single Sourcing, as provided for under section 41 of the Public Procurement Act 2003.
Section 41 of the Act which provides for Sole Sourcing states: “Where there is an urgent need for goods or services and engaging in tender proceedings is impractical due to unforeseeable circumstances giving rise to urgency which is not the result of dilatory conduct on the part of the procurement entity, single procurement might be applied.”
This followed high offers quoted by the other companies that went through the tendering process earlier in the year. The difference between the two sets of offers, a source disclosed, is that the bidders were coming with a concessionary financial package to finance the projects. But, the Ghanaian Government is required to pre-finance the stadia to be built by the Chinese. The Chinese are requesting 25 percent (about $19m) of the cost to be paid upfront. Government has approached SSNIT, Barclays and other financial institutions for funding.
The construction of the new Cape Coast Stadium, which is being delayed is seen as not fatal because that is expected to be used as a standby venue for the tournament.
Meanwhile, work on the reconstruction projects at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra and the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, also to be used for CAN 2008, is expected to be commenced on time even though there is little clarity on where the source of funding is going to come from or who the builders to undertake the two projects will be.