The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has promised to ensure value for money on all projects if voted into office.
According to the NPP, unlike President John Mahama and his NDC, “who inflate the cost of projects”, they will ensure that Ghanaians get value-for-money and that Ghanaian businesses have a pride of place in developing our infrastructure.
Addressing journalists in Accra on Tuesday, the Chairman of the NPP Sector Committee on Infrastructure and second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Ghartey, said the party has a comprehensive plan to improve the country’s infrastructure.
Below are excerpts of his speech:
NPP will embark on a sustainable, integrated, infrastructural development programme. This will address infrastructure that supports a modern road network, affordable housing, water systems, aviation, ports & harbours, railways and ICT. This programme will create jobs and bring prosperity.
Contract overpricing, and the gross abuse of the Public Procurement Act, through questionable sole sourcing, has characterised Ghana’s infrastructural development in the last few years. Of two identical sets of teachers’ bungalows next to each other in Dambai Teacher Training College, the one constructed by NPP in 2007 costed GH₵195,000, while the one constructed by the NDC in 2011 cost 4.6 times more at GH₵900,000.It is no wonder that given the resources at the disposal of the Mahama government, Ghanaians have not seen a commensurate quantum of infrastructural development taking place. Furthermore, in real terms, Ghana has also seen a decline in infrastructural expenditure. From an average of 11.5% of GDP between 2001 to 2008, to 5.7% of GDP between 2009 and 2015 and 4.2% of GDP in 2016.
The NPP’s Integrated Infrastructural Development Programme shall have the following key components;
a. A National Asset Protection Project
b. Interconnected Roads, Railways, Ports & Harbours Systems
c. An Aviation Hub
d. A Water for All Programme
e. Flood Control and Coastline Protection
f. Mainstreamed ICT, and
g. Affordable Housing for All.
The National Asset Protection Project
Under the National Asset Protection Project, a comprehensive audit of uncompleted Government projects throughout the country will be undertaken. A special-purpose Asset Securitisation Vehicle shall be established to hold these assets and leverage them to raise funds for their completion. Under this Project, countless jobs will be created for student as well as qualified architects, draughtsmen, property valuers and related professionals throughout Ghana.
Interconnected Roads, Railways, Ports & Harbours Systems and Aviation
The lack of a modern, integrated and well established transport infrastructure, of roads, railways, ports & harbours and aviation, isone of the weakest links in our development. The existing transport infrastructure is wholly inadequate, colonial in character and is not adequately integrated. We will integrate Ghana’s transportation infrastructure. This will make the movement of goods and people more efficient and effective. It will boost the economy and generally generate hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
Roads and Highways
In this sector we shall improve the road network and close the missing links in the network. We shall systematically tar gravel roads in areas of high population density, agricultural production and tourism potential. We shall tar all Cities and District Capitals and progressively tar all other major towns in Ghana.
We must end the nightmare of traffic congestion which is engulfing our cities and some of our highways. To this end we shall widen major arterial roads into multi-lane carriageways, construct lay-bys and dedicated traffic lanes for high occupancy buses and construct by-passes and interchanges at major intersections such as Point 7 in Tamale, Tema Motorway Roundabout, Suame Roundabout, Oforikrom Intersection and Takoradi PTC Roundabout. We shall also improve and increase access to the public transportation system.
This sector will completely be overhauled. The Western and Eastern Lines will be revamped. We shall also expand the railway network from Kumasi to Paga. We shall build a Tema-Akosombo Rail Line and tie it in with a revived and expanded Volta Lake Transport System. This opportunity to transport goods and people from the South to the North and vice versa, through road, rail and water transport is a clear example of our integrated approach to transport infrastructure.
Ports and Harbours
We shall make our ports and harbours more efficient and cheaper to use by fully automating the processes which will reduce time spent at the ports. Port charges and fees will also be reduced. We shall continue the expansion of the Tema Harbour. The Takoradi Harbour will be extended to Sekondi and a logistics centre will be developed in Sekondi. With the private sector, we shall construct two new harbours in James Town and Keta and the inland port in Buipe. The Volta River will be developed into a major transportation artery in conjunction with the private sector. Modern ferry ports will be developed at locations such as Buipe, Yapei, Yeji, Makango, Kwadwokurom, Kete-Krachi, Adowso, Ekyemanfrom, Akateng and Boso.
We shall make our airports international and regional hubs. We shall also increase domestic air travel as part of our integrated transport system. We will achieve this through policies such as improving and increasing our transport infrastructure generally, reducing the price of aviation fuel and abolishing the 17.5 % VAT on domestic air fares, among others.
Our Water for All Programme
We are proud of our track record in the provision of water to several communities across the country. In addition to several other interventions from2001 to 2008, NPP under President Kufuor, undertook major water system improvements in Cape Coast, Baafikrom, Koforidua, Kumasi, Kwanyarku, Ada, Sogakope, Accra and Tamale. Unfortunately a large number of Ghanaians still do not have access to potable water. Under our Water for All Agenda we seek to ensure that every Ghanaian has access to portable water. We shall, among others, sink at least 25, 000 new boreholesand 300 small town water supply systems and upgrade antiquated water supply systems in our towns and cities.
Tackling Flooding and Coastline and Inland Erosion
We cannot continue to have a knee jerk reaction to perennial flooding in Accra and other parts of Ghana. In the short term we shall construct storm drains in Accra and other cities to deal with the recurring devastating floods. As a long term and permanent solution, we shall establish a National Hydrological Authority. The Authority shall plan, develop, maintain, protect and administer drainage and flood control measures. The Authority shall be responsible for constant dredging and desilting of our drains and water ways to ensure a free flow of water. This will bring an end to the ad hoc, after the event and uncoordinated approach to perineal flooding. The Authority will also be responsible for protecting our inland and sea coastlines from erosion.
NPP shall put ICT at the centre of the national development agenda. We shall register every resident in Ghana within the first yearunder the National Identification Scheme. We shall automate the process involved in accessing public services at both the national and local government level and we shall facilitate nationwide access to mobile networks. We shall develop ICT Incubator Hubs in our Regional capitals to create business opportunities in the private sector. Through Government procurement we shall support local ICT companies, among other measures.Our ICT programme will open up the economy and create jobs and wealth.
Affordable Housing for All
Shelter is one of the basic needs of life and as a nation we are woefully lacking in this sector. Housing that meet the needs and is within the budget of the average Ghanaian for purchase or rental is not easily available. This has to change and this we will change through various interventions. These interventions will include providing serviced land banks to real estate companies and individuals for development, offering tax incentives to local real estate developers and producers of building materials, abolishingthe 5% VAT on real estate sales, and working with identifiable groups such as the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana National Association of Graduate Teachers, Farmer’s Groups and other Identifiable groups to facilitate the construction of homes for their members through, amongst others, the provision of appropriate financing guarantees. We shall also promote and develop the use of local material in the construction of homes. We shall facilitate the development of an active mortgage market to expand access of mortgage loans to Ghanaians.
“Give us the opportunity, so together, we can work to change Ghana for the better,” Mr. Joe Ghartey noted.
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