”The year of roads is impossible because of COVID-19”-ILAPI Boss
President Nana Akufo-Addo’s promise to make the year 2020 the year of roads will no longer materialise, Executive Director of the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation, Mr. Peter Bismark Kwofie has said.
The outbreak of the global pandemic coronavirus he posited will have serious implications on planned initiatives and other social intervention programmes by the government.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2019 tagged the year 2020 as the “Year of Roads.”
Speaking at a media encounter, President Akufo-Addo said roads are critical in the development of any nation and that the development of the much-touted roads under the previous administration was untrue.
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta reading the 2020 budget last year also indicated that the government will largely focus and prioritize road projects to improve infrastructure in that sector and bring an end to the cries of Ghanaians for better roads.
“Today, the cry everywhere in Ghana is about the poor state of our roads. It is an unprecedented cry and it makes you wonder where all the roads in the NDC’s Green Book are. Mr. Speaker, this is why we are going to focus more on fixing our roads across the country in 2020 and beyond. To get the road sector moving and contractors back to work, government will pay 80% of all contractors. We have identified critical roads across each of the 16 regions and construction would begin on all these critical roads soon.”
“Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians want action on our roads, not words or plans or Green Book claims about what has been done. We intend to swing into action and let our work do the talking for us. Mr. Speaker with this large number of roads to be constructed, the year 2020 can aptly be described as “The Year of Roads” along with a focus on all our flagship programmes, he added.
But Mr. Kwofie says this will not be achieved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
”The year of roads is impossible because of the coronavirus,” he declared.
He explained that the informal economy would suffer from the lockdown because of loss of daily sales and income.
The sector may not directly benefit from the emergency financial response. This would reduce individual income and purchasing power, hr told host of Frontline, Kwabena Agyapong.
However, the government would still have to ensure the continuation of salaries of public sector employment and provision of basic needs and other services including electricity, essential services, water and food.
Commenting on the issue of a lockdown, he said with a total lockdown, certain goods and services that people would otherwise buy and enjoy will be off-limit.
He called on the ministry of food and Agriculture through the Buffer Food Stock to develop an outline to supply food to underprivileged homes.
Also, the government should support companies in Ghana (both local and foreign) to change their structure of production to produce some essential goods to avoid shortage during the lockdown.
Institutions such as GRIDCO, VRA and ECG must ensure there is continuous supply of power since most institutions would be working from home. Tariffs on electricity and electricity should be reduced, he suggested.
By: Rashid Obodai Provencal