Hon. Kwame Governs Agboza, the Member of Parliament for Adaklu Constituency in the Volta Region, has called on the government, through the Ministry of Aviation, to, as a matter of necessity, expedite action and complete the Ho Airport project.
According to him, the project is so dear to the hearts of the people of the region as its timely competition has the potential of opening up the region for investors and improve both local and the national economies.
Mr. Agboza made the call after he had asked a question of the Minister for Aviation on the floor parliament yesterday.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister for Aviation when works on the Ho Airport project will be completed.
Mr. Agboza said work on the Ho Airport project has been stalled and the contractor, Amandi Holding Limited, is not on the project site.
“The contractor has stopped work, he is not on site and we don’t know when he will return. This project was supposed to have been completed in March, 2017, but here we are, in October, the work is not complete,” he stated.
He told the paper that, the contractor left the project site on grounds that the government has not paid for work done so far, but information says, he had been paid about two months ago and yet the work on the project is stalled.
Answering questions in parliament, the Minister for Aviation, Hon Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said the Ho Airport project is being constructed by Amandi Holding Limited and the consultant is Amalgamated Design, with a design and build contract of sum total of US$25,001,889.0.
According to her, the initial contract period was 15 months, with three months for design and 12 months for construction, but was revised to 18 months with three years design and 15 months for the actual construction works.
The minister said the contract was expected to start on 3rd August 2015, but was revised to 18th September, same year, and to be completed on 4th November 2016, but was again revised to be completed on 18th March, 2017.
Madam Cecilia Dapaah said, on 26th September,2017, the ministry engaged the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) and the consultant to brief them on the progress of work so far, stating, “Mr. Speaker, at the meeting, it was relayed that the contractor has requested for an extension of completion date of March 2018, as a result of delay in payments.”
“Mr. Speaker, as at August 2017, the overall project completion was 88.49%. The value of work certified to date is US$19,700,000.00 and payments have been executed. There is no outstanding payment.”
“Mr. Speaker, the project is expected to be completed by March 2018, pending a request for extension as submitted by the contractors for the consideration of the consultant and GACL,” Hon. Dapaah told parliament.
She however bemoaned that there has been reported challenges of “Fulani Herdsmen,” cutting the perimeter fence wall for their animals to graze on the green field and rainfall, which attributed to the cause of delay in the timely completion of the project.
Nevertheless, Hon. Agboza said, the timely completion of the project which sod was cut by former President John Mahama remained important to the people of Volta Region and the nation as its potential in business investment remained enormous.
The Adaklu lawmaker intimated that, the project site, situated between Ho and Adaklu enclave, has vast business potential for all kinds of traders and artisans and its completion would in no doubt open up development in the catchment communities.
In his view, beside the immediate business and petty trading activities, the tourist attraction in the region could double up, as more people would access the air strip to other regions across the country.
“I think this project when complete will help boost business activities. More people will be willing to set up companies and what have you. Small trading and even tourism sites will pick up more, because Ho is at a position where people from the region traveling to Kumasi and Tamale areas need not go to Accra, but from the Ho Airport they could easily access their respective regions,” he positioned.
He also expressed the view that, apart from the business potential, children growing up in the area and seeing an aircraft flying low in the sky in their communities would be motivated to take up the challenge to acquire knowledge in the aviation sector.
Mr. Agbodza, who is the ranking member on Transport Sub Committee of parliament, however, urged chiefs and people, especially custodians of the lands around the airport, not to encourage encroachment on the airport land, stressing that, ” that land has become a security zone and I will call on residents near not to encroach on the land.”
The construction of the Ho Airport project was begun in September 2015, when former President John Mahama, then sitting president, cut the sod for the Ho Aerodrome project, which is estimated to cost $25million and expected to be completed in 2017.
The former president in December, 2016 commissioned the first phase which is the runway and other strips and also cut sod for the construction of the main terminal building before end of 2017.
The aerodrome was about 76% complete and it was expected that work would continue with the hope that by March 2017, the terminal building would also be completed to make way for commercial flights.
Unfortunately, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, which started the project, lost the 2016 general election, after commissioning the first phase runway.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba