The Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS) has said no value-for-money audit before a $2 billion infrastructure agreement was signed does not make the deal problematic.
Obeng Ayirebi, Chairman of the Quantity Surveying Division of the professional body says per the principle of value-for-money audits, an appraisal can be done before, during or after a contract is signed.
“There is nowhere in the value-for-money principle that you have to do it at all cost before you sign a contract. Value-for-money can be done at every phase of the project,” he said on PM Express Wednesday evening.
The Minority insists that Ghana could be shortchanged if the government proceeds with the project without a credible financial assessment of whether it offers value for money.
On PM Express on Wednesday, a current affairs show on the Joy News channel on MultiTV, Inusah Fuseini, a Ranking Member of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, reiterated the Minority’s view that government may be breaching the law in proceeding with the deal without an audit.
“There is a legal injunction because you want value-for-money for the project. And to get value-for-money the PPA [Public Procurement Authority] must see what it is that we are deriving from this project,” he said.
However, countering this, Mr Ayirebi said an audit can be done at any stage of the project.
“When you start a project, midstream you can stop and do value-for-money,” he explained.
He explained further: “The import of value-for-money is not only on cost. When you talk about value-for-money you are talking about efficiency…effectiveness…sustainability of the project so you combine the whole thing together so you can pronounce judgement on it.”
According to him, Minority’s fixation on the cost aspect of a value-for-money appraisal is not consistent with the principle of value-for-money audits.
“You might have a project, the cost might be high but it might be very efficient for you,” he said.
The Sinohydro deal is an agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Sinohydro Group Limited of China to provide the infrastructure of the government’s choice in exchange for Ghana’s refined bauxite.
Some of the projects are the construction of roads, bridges, interchanges, hospitals, public housing, among other projects.
On Wednesday, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissioned a road infrastructure project that will be catered for by the deal in the Northern Region.
Value for money done
Meanwhile, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said a value-for-money audit by the GhIS has okayed the project.
He said Wednesday that the Roads and Highways Ministry in December 2018, requested for a value-for-money analysis for the construction and rehabilitation of selected roads and interchanges in Phase 1 of the 2 billion Sinohydro deal, dubbed ‘Accra Inner City Roads.’
The GhIS report, on the Accra Inner City Roads, according to the Information Minister, passed the test for value-for-money analysis.
But Mr Fuseini said on PM Express that the Accra Inner City Roads is just one project under the huge $2 billion deal, suggesting that the fact that one project (the Accra Inner City Roads) has purportedly passed the audit does not mean the entire deal will achieve same.