Editorial: Ghana must start debating building of a new capital!
We have used our two past editorials to drum home the need to improve upon the road networks in Accra to ensure increment in our productivity. We raised the issue because of the unbearable traffic jams the national capital has been experiencing in recent years. Though the various governments, through the Ministry of Roads and Highways, have done their best to improve upon the road network, the volume of traffic keeps on increasing every passing day.
For example, Adenta and Madina used to be horrible places to stay because of the heavy vehicular traffic on the road corridor. The Kufuor government decided to solve the problem by expanding the road from a single lane to a ten lane dual carriageway. With such a major improvement on the road, many were those who thought the traffic congestion hassle was over, but that is not entirely the situation motorists are experiencing today.
The improvement on the road has attracted thousands of Ghanaians who have gone to put up residential accommodation in the corridor. It is an undeniable fact that people now stay in faraway places such as Mamfe, Mampong, Akropong – all in the Eastern Region – and Ashiyie and Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region, and come to work in Accra. This has put vehicular pressure on the road, resulting in heavy traffic jams.
It appears to us that the more the government expands the roads, the more people also buy vehicles and put them on these roads. Though one may argue that this is a sign of an improvement of our national economy, the productivity hours being wasted cannot also be overlooked. Now it appears all the entry points to Accra are always choked with vehicles, and that was the reason why we suggested in our two previous editorials the need to construct bypass roads to ease traffic on the roads.
But, looking at the way Accra is growing, a time will come when the authorities would find it very difficult to manage the traffic situation, because the more roads are built, the more the cars are imported. If we are not exaggerating, Cape Coast, Koforidua, Sogakofe, Somanya will all become part of Accra in the next twenty years, if the current growth of the city is sustained.
Should that happen Accra would become a City State like Singapore. This means development would continue to concentrate in the southern half at the expense of the rest of the country. The Chronicle, therefore, thinks the time has come for the authorities to initiate a public debate on the possibility of moving our national capital to the Kintampo area.
Nigerians saw that Lagos, the current commercial capital, had become choked and, therefore, adopted a strategy of moving the capital to the middle belt of the country. Abuja, the new capital, is today not one of the beautiful cities in Africa, but has helped to ease pressure on Lagos. This, in our view, is what Ghana must also start thinking about, so that in the near future the capital can be moved to the middle belt of the country.
The development would not only bring about equitable distribution of national resources, but ease the unbearable traffic congestion in Accra and create room for productivity to thrive. Of course, we are aware of the heavy capital needed for such an ambitious initiative, but if the right strategy is put in place, the aim can be achieved in the next 30 to 40 years.
Nigeria had the vision to build a new capital many years ago, which they were able to eventually achieve, because of the strategic measures they put in place. Now all farm lands in the Greater Accra Region are virtually gone. Estate developers have taken over them and are putting up mansions that are beyond the reach of the ordinary man. The big question then is; should we sit down for the Central, Eastern and Volta Regions to also start experiencing this unfortunate development before we start thinking about how to deal with the situation?
If the answer is no, then the country must start thinking now and should not wait until it is overtaken by events. We should not allow the next generation of Ghanaians to suffer because the current generation failed to act appropriately.