“Significant AS it is, the Street naming project, by all standards, is long overdue. In fact, it has delayed for 113 years”, Mr. Kofi Owusu Bempah, project contractor has said.
Mr. Owusu Bempah, the Managing Director of ASI Zipcode Systems Limited, the project contractors, says the street naming should have started as far back as 1900.
He told The Chronicle in an interview that the only way out for the effective implementation of the project is availability of adequate funds.
In March, this year, President Mahama directed the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development at the launch of the National Urban Policy Framework and Action Plan to implement the street naming within 18 months.
President Mahama, then Vice President, in August 2012, launched the National Policy document and operational guidelines on street naming and property addressing system for Ghana in Kumasi.
But the consultant has indicated that the solution for the execution of the project in 18 months by MMDCEs as directed by the President is adequate funding.
Mr. Owusu Bempah said the 18 months time given the assemblies to complete the projects is feasible, provided funds would be made available.
According to him, the government would have to raise as much as US$ 408 million to enable MMDCEs to complete the project nationwide as directed, using $100 per house or 408 million houses as the basis for raising funds for the project.
He said $17.00 per each of the 24 million Ghanaians would also provide a basis for funding as was the case when the World Bank in 1993 funded a similar project in Dakar, Senegal, then with a population of 940,046 which cost $15 million.
Citing the Kumasi project to buttress the point that the project is capital intensive, Mr. Owusu Bempah said it would cost the KMA GH¢10 million for the completion of the entire project and that as at March 31, this year, a total of GH¢ 2,200.000.00 had been expended.
About GH¢ 8,209,994.75 more (being the difference of the project cost) would be required to meet the total cost of the project.
He said out of the amount the KMA has contributed only GH¢185,000.00 – representing only 10% of the total cost of the project with the larger chunk of GH¢ 994, 960.00 (55% of cost) accruing from street names.
Home owners, according to Mr. Owusu Bempah, also contributed GH¢119,045.25 (6%) while the Ministry of Local Government had released GH¢491,000.00 (27%) – amounting to GH¢1, 790,005.25 – an indication that the company had sunk GH¢409, 994.75 of its own resources into the project.
Should the KMA raise the outstanding indebtedness of GH¢409,994.75, which payment have been delayed for two years, it would have contributed GH¢594,994.75 (about 27%) to the project.
Mr. Owusu Bempah said, of the GH¢600,000.00 annual budget allocation for the project in 2002, his company could only access GH¢900,000.00 out of which he used GH¢400.000.00 for the Kumasi and GH¢500,000.00 for the Takoradi project.
Apart from Kumasi, the company is working on similar projects in Accra, Shama-Ahanta, Assin Fosu, Obuasi, Tema, Tamale, Ho, Sunyani, Bolgatanga, Wa, Koforidua and Cape Coast.
As of now, Adum and Bomso, under the Kumasi project are completed with maps while other areas in the metropolis are partially completed.
With 1,540 (25%) out of 6,000 street signage poles, installed with 673 (22%) of the projected 3,000 street names, the Kumasi project is 22% complete, while that of Accra and Tema are 6% and 5% complete respectively.
Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis is 10%; Obuasi Municipality is 10% while Assin Fosu is 7% complete.
Mr. Owusu Bempah said in implementing the street naming project, funding is more crucial, saying his company would not need more than six months to complete the remaining work if funding is provided.
According to him, his outfit has prepared all base maps for all the regional capitals and that 400 personnel have been trained in readiness for the execution of the project as soon as funding is ready.
“Currently, we have completed the data gathering, mapping and all other preparatory works which are key in getting the work complete,” he said.
The MD further disclosed that his outfit had also electronically programmed the street address maps, which could be used on mobile phones. It had been done for use in Kumasi, Obuasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ho and Tamale, and was to be extended to other areas.
The ASI Zipcode MD has also revealed that a programmed navigation system had been developed by his company for use in vehicles which system gives directions to destination in English, Twi, Ewe, Ga and Dagbani.
Mr. Bempah has, therefore, called for government intervention and donor support in raising adequate funding for the project, which is said to be crucial for easy identification of places, facilitation of the issuance of business operating licenses and collection of property rates, among others.