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Parliament okays €350m Afram Plains roads, bridge projects

Parliament has approved a total of €350 million commercial contract agreements to finance the construction of two major roads and a bridge to bolster agricultural productivity in the Afram Plains area in the Eastern Region.
The first agreement is between the government and Contracta Construction UK Limited for €150 million for the construction of the Bunso-Adawso road and specified approach roads to the Adawso Bridge project.

The 104-kilometre project comprises the Takorowatwen-Ekyi Amanfrom road (22 km), the Adawso-Kwahu Tafo road (20 km), the Kwahu Tafo-Miaso road (29 km), the Miaso-Begoro road (26 km) and the Begoro-Obuoho road (seven km).

The second agreement is between the government and BNIP-Janson-Adowso Consortium of The Netherlands for €200 million for the construction of a bridge over the Afram River at Adawso-Ekyi Amanfrom.

Both agreements were presented to Parliament by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, on Monday, December 20, 2021 and were referred to the Committee on Roads and Transport for consideration.

Project objectives

Presenting its report, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, said the projects were aimed at constructing the road linking Bunso to Adawso on the N6 and specified approach roads to the Adawso Bridge to be constructed over the Afram River.

He said the projects would promote agriculture in the Afram Basin, as well as boost international and regional integration.

The scope of the €150-million project, which will be completed in three years from the date of commencement, would include the rehabilitation of the Obuoho (Begoro)-Kwahu Tafo road (58.7 km) and the rehabilitation of the Ekyi-Amanfrom-Donkorkrom road (101 km).

For the €200-million bridge project, it will comprise a three-kilometre bridge with two lanes, in addition to the construction of a new toll plaza, service lanes and a walkway on one side, pavement layers inclusive of natural gravel layers, asphalt surfacing and double bituminous surfacing, toll and weight stations, among others.

The project is expected to be completed in three-and-a-half years from the commencement date.

Components

The cost component of the Bunso-Adawso project includes general items (€8.6 million), consultancy service (€9.6 million), paving (€67.8 million), concrete and steel bridges (€6.3 million), drainage (€16.4 million), relocation of utilities and compensation (€8.3 million) and contingency (€11 million).

For the bridge, the cost component comprises engineering design, including consultancy and soil investigation (€10 million), construction of the substructure, . including foundation and pile cap (€103 million) and manufacturing, supply and installation of composite superstructure, including construction of deck and walkway (€72 million).

Value for money report

Mr Nyarko said the committee noted with concern that even though a value-for-money (VFM) audit was a condition precedent for the contracts to come into full force and effect, a VFM report was not submitted for the consideration of the committee.

“The committee observed that, in line with the local content policy, 30 per cent of works have been reserved for Ghanaian contractors, indigenes and other skilled workers.

“Provision has also been made for the purchase and usage of local materials to boost the economy,” he told the House.

Lack of value for money

Contributing to the motion for the House to approve the agreements, the Ranking Member of the Roads and Transport Committee, Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, said he was worried that proper VFM audits for the two agreements were not done.

He blamed the situation on the selection of VFM auditors by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Roads and Highways, a development that made it difficult to ensure independent VFM auditing of projects.

“Mr Speaker, if we want to do a better job for this country, the selection of VFM auditing firms must be done just the way ordinary audit firms are selected in this country. They go through competitive bidding,” Mr Agbodza said

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