From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
The ultra-modern Kumasi City Office Complex project, which has been on the drawing board since 2012, has stalled for lack of funds.
The Kumasi City Hall Complex (CHC) contract was won in open competitive tender by a Ghana/UK design team, led by Ghanaian construction professionals, JustGhana (UK) and Chinese developer Hai Hong ETS (HHETS).
The project, together with the financial strategy and business plan was approved by the Finance Ministry, after detailed and forensic review which culminated in the signing of the contract between Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and HHETS.
But the US$33.3 million project has stalled, after the Chinese contractor, HHETS allegedly considered to replace the UK/Ghana team with architects from China to the detriment of the project, in the face of reduced design quality and increased construction risk, including unnecessary and expensive delays as the new design would have to be re-submitted for a new public tender procedure, under the Ghana Government’s Procurement Act.
Since 2012, steps had been taken by the KMA to have Messrs Hai Hong ETS Limited to construct an Ultra-Modern Office Complex in the sum of US$33.3 million.
Notwithstanding the situation, the current management of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly is making frantic efforts to raise funds for the implementation of the project.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, has said during the 1st ordinary meeting of the 4th session of the 7th assembly that the absence of an office facility that befits the status of KMA is a major concern.
According to him, it is long overdue for the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to have a befitting office complex and urged members to settle on the way forward for the commencement of this project relying substantially on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) funding.
Osei Assibey Antwi has, therefore, urged the House to dispassionately discuss the options open to the Assembly regarding the ideal site for the project and a Public-Private Partnership implementation strategy.
In 2013 JustGhana (UK), a UK-based company which promotes interest and investment in Ghanaians, as well as its economy and culture, initiated the membership of Kumasi to the World Cities Network (WCN), which seeks to accelerate development of urban infrastructure and the operational systems that deliver greatest resilience through supporting built environment leaders.
Supported by the British High Commission, Accra and the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), JustGhana formed a consortium of UK and Ghana companies, which promote projects that create jobs and business avenues, as well as share knowledge and generate partnership in Accra and Kumasi.
Kumasi, the second largest city with a population of about 2.5 million and the seat of the occupant of the Golden Stool as head of the Ashanti Kingdom, is the first African city to have done so.