There was a real tug of war between the minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament yesterday over the breakdown of $29 million, being the amount purportedly spent on the rehabilitation of the Kumasi Airport by the NDC government.
The Minister of Transport, Ms Dzifa Ativor, was summoned before Parliament to answer an urgent question standing in the name of the NPP MP for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, who wanted to know the detailed breakdown for the amount of money spent on the rehabilitation of the Kumasi Airport.
The minister, in her answer, said the rehabilitation of the existing airfield pavement which included patch repair works, correction of undulating surface, provision of Asphalt Reinforcement Grid (ARG) on a regulating course, provision and placing of 70mm thick marshall asphalt on top of the reinforcement grid, pavement marking and earthwork to the runway to ensure compliance with standards of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and International Civil Aviation Organisation, cost $23,829,271 ($23.9m) while consultancy services for the airfield pavement works also cost the nation $409,829.
The transport minister also explained that a total of $4,659,547 was spent on provision of aeronautical ground lighting systems at the airport, which included designing and training while consultancy for that work also cost the nation $194,449.
Her answer did not go down well with the MP for Manhyia South who wanted to know the actual breakdown for specific works carried out under the rehabilitation of the airfield pavement, but his further probing was vehemently opposed by the majority leader, Alban Bagbin, who said that Parliament was not the platform to make that request.
The majority leader said if the MP wanted the actual breakdown of the cost then he could go to the ministry of transport to ascertain that.
The minority members, led by Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, also insisted that the minister should be able to give the details of the cost since she had a copy of the contract in her hand when she came to answer the question; but that request also became another bone of contention as to whether that document was a public document which had to be laid in Parliament. The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, intervened and directed the minister to provide the details as requested by the Minority by the close of work yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Manhyia South MP in an interaction with DAILY GUIDE has raised serious questions about the minister’s response, saying that the figures given for the rehabilitation of the airfield were questionable.
‘How can the nation spend a whopping $23.9 million on rehabilitation of just 1.9km runway?’ he queried.
He said that from his personal investigations, the figure quoted for the provision of the aeronautical ground lighting might be correct but the figure quoted for the rehabilitation of the airfield had been ballooned.
‘If indeed the nation spent that $23.9 million on 1.9km runway then that will mean that the Kumasi Airport runway is the most expensive runway in the world,’ he remarked.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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