Hon Kwame Governs Agboza, Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu Constituency has expressed worried over the down cut of budgetary allocation for the transportation sector by government in the 2018 budget presented to parliament last Wednesday.
According to him, the trend could affect the sector substantially as it remained the only sector that open up the country development.
Hon Agboza who is a Ranking Member on parliamentary select Committee on Roads and Transport made these observation in an interview THE REPUBLIC in parliament last Friday.
He stated that, the budgetary figure of GHc 2.62 billion to the infrastructure sub-sector, which covered the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing, Roads and Highways, Communication, Railway Development, Aviation and Transport is woefully inadequate looking at the capital intensive project in the sector.
The Minority MP expressed shock to the fact that the Office of Government Machinery has been allocated an amount of GHc 1.56 billion, which accounts for 60% of the funds allocated to six sector ministries under infrastructure.
On the aviation sector, Mr Agboza said, government appeared not to have any investment plan, stating that, apart from the thermal three redevelopment at the Kotota International Airport which is ongoing, works at the Kumasi,Tamale, Ho and Wa airports which were also commenced by the NDC have all been stalled.
The Tema and Takoradi ports expansion work, he said are the only projects still ongoing, stressing, that is possible because of the adequate funding the NDC secured for such projects.
The Railway infrastructure, he said, ” is an expensive and capital intensive sector for which reason the NDC government started some investment to revamp the deplorable state of our railways.
A total of GHc 320 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Railways, 33% (GH¢106 million) is donor funded, GHc32.8 million (10%) allocated for Goods and service and GHc 26.2 million (82%) to be spent on Capital expenditure in the 2018 budget.
But Hon Agboza expressed disappointment to that fact that there was no any project to show how an amount of GHs550 million which was allocated to the Railway Development Ministry in 2017 budget was utilized.
The Western Line which begins from Takoradi and ends at Kumasi with two branch lines; Dunkwa to Awaso and Kojokrom to Sekondi project were all commenced by NDC and was expected to be executed in 2017 by the Ministry.
Given this background, he said it would therefore be prudent for Government to focus on building the rail sector, handing over part of the management of the sector to a private entity that could ensure consistent investment.
The NDC government has done all the master plan work on the rail sector and left with investment, where government is expected to invest not less than GHs250 million or enter public private partnership (PPP) to boast the sector.
Touching on the roads sector, the ranking member on transport said, the road sector is a strategic sector that every development hinge on in the country but the current government is not showing any form of commitment to expand the sector.
He added that, work have stalled in almost every roads projects that were commenced by the NDC and there was no sign government intend executing new roads projects.
He mentioned the Eastern Corridor roads, the cocoa community roads, some urban centers and district capital roads which awarded for various development have all been suspended and there was no action getting into second year of the new government.
The MP noted that the road funds that used accrued for only GHs250 million, it took the bold step of the NDC to review it to annual GHs2.2billion and was expected that government could work to increase that so more roads could be covered.
“What is most worrying is that, the government is incurring more debts as contractors who started work but asked to stop would have to price additional cost as the roads need another grading when they are clear to start work or even if they intend given them to new contractors,” he stated.
Generally, Mr Agboza said, the Akufo Addo led government has not demonstrated competence in managing transport sector, given the critical role the sector play in the nation economy and called for depolarization of the sector to ensure speedy development.
He noted that, effective and efficient transportation provide economic benefits that produce multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets, employment and additional investments.
Consequently, the Adaklu MP said citizens who are deprived of transportation infrastructure miss out on several economic opportunities, saying that, “the neglect of the sector with lack of corresponding investment, and other hiccups combined to cripple the sector.”
He observed that,losing billions of public funds in the name of maintaining the few existing infrastructure could create chaos in the sector and called on government to revisited the budgetary allocation to the transport infrastructure.
Giving an insight on the 2018 budget, Hon Agboza said the budget is full of empty promises and deception, arguing that, there was no single result to show fir the 2017 budget.
He therefore described the 2018 budget presented to parliament last Wednesday as a “hopeless and visionless” on, contending that it is a budget full of intention and charged the president and economic management team to be serious and innovative in governance.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba