By Bernice Bessey
Prof Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Chairman of the Ghana Infrastructural Fund (GIF), has inspected the Accra Rehabilitation Project at Odawna and Mallam Market, estimated to cost GH¢40 million, to provide 2,000 stalls, multi-purpose toilet facilities, crèche and storm drain.
The project, which was started two years ago, is about 85 percent complete, but the contracted firm, Comet Construction Limited, is yet to receive any imbursement, although it has already invested some GH¢15 million.
The Accra Rehabilitation Project is a Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) project to provide 800 stalls, crèche, multiple purpose toilet facility, and storm drainage at Odawna, and 1,200 stalls, crèche and multipurpose facility at the Mallam Market.
Due to the challenge of lack of funding, progress of work is at a slow pace, meanwhile, this project is expected to complete within the next six months, if funds are readily made available.
The project was inspected because the GIF was considering supporting it with an undisclosed amount of funds.
The Project Coordinator, Bernard Nana Adolf, in an interview with The Chronicle Thursday, said the storm drain at Odawna is 95 percent complete, while the others are at various stages of good progress.
According to him, the major impediments of the project were lack of funding and squatters, who were refusing to remove their illegal structures due to the claim that they pay tolls to the Accra Metropolitan Accra (AMA), which currently has no jurisdiction over the area.
He said the squatters had even mounted structures on the drain that has been covered, while others defecate on it. Structures such as corn mills and drinking spots have all been built on the drain.
Nana Adolf added that the workers have to use manual labour to de-silt the drain instead of machinery, because the squatters were not giving them space to operate, adding that some of them use unprintable words on them.
Nothing hurts him more than after the drain is cleaned the workers have to repeat the process, because the squatters dump heaps of refuse into it again.
He pleaded with the government to release funds to enable the firm complete the project within the prescribed time.
Prof Ameyaw Akumfi, on his part, explained that the MLGRD approached the GIF for support to complete the project, which is lacking funding.
“We been going back and forth for some time now, and so we had a meeting with them, and we discussed the usual problem, revenue mobilisation, and we came out with some ideas. Actually, they came out with an idea about how to organise some incentives on revenue collection, and we have not seen the work done.
“So we decided to come round to both locations – Odawna and this place (Mallam Market), just to see how much work had been done to enable the board to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Our aim is to support development, because most of us who have been following the President’s speech in Parliament he did mention these locations in particular,” he added.
He noted that when it rains, it is terrible, and the enclave of the Odaw becomes a no-go area. As a result, he said the GIF had met with the assemblies that fall under their jurisdiction on revenue mobilisation.
According to him, the GIF is particular about revenue mobilisation, because whichever loan or fund is raised, it needs to be paid back, therefore, the issue in agents running away with money or duplicating receipts would be resolved.