Roads Minister Criticizes Huge Cost Overruns

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Roads and Highways, has directed the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) to take steps to address cost overruns characterising most of its projects. He criticised what he said was “the huge cost overrun that the Department has with the Road Fund” and warned that projects procured through price quotations without the necessary approvals “shall not be honoured”.

     Alhaji Fuseini had already given approval for a procurement audit of all works being undertaken by the department across the country.

     The goal, he said, was to check malfeasance to “ensure that we have value for money for the works that we are undertaking”.  The Minister was addressing the annual review conference of the department in Kumasi under the theme: “Strengthening the Role of the Regional Offices to Deliver DUR’s Mandate”.

     He announced a programme to ensure asphaltic concrete overlay of more than 250 kilometres on some critical roads in Kumasi, Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi, Cape Coast, Ho and Tamale.  This is meant to preserve the huge investment made over the years in  road construction by reducing the potholes “we see on some of these roads”.

     Alhaji Fuseini hinted of the decision to undertake a comprehensive review of all road projects to make sure that they were properly funded.  “Projects, which have long past their completion dates, will be terminated and any outstanding work re-packaged for award”, he added.

     He said his ministry was negotiating with the World Bank for a new Transport Sector Investment Project to bring in about US$30 million to develop roads in selected low income areas in the savannah belt.
     An appraisal mission was expected in the country within the month, he added.
     Mr Samuel Sarpong, Ashanti Regional Minister, called for the adoption of modern traffic management to ease the traffic congestion in the cities.

     He said there was also the need for the DUR to intensify its monitoring and evaluation rounds to enable them to attend to road damages, which sometimes caused car crashes and fatalities. Alhaji Abas Mawollu, Director of Urban Roads, said the road network size had grown to 14,500 km from 2008’s total of 8,500 km because a lot more urban centres were coming into its network.

      Touching on its last year’s operational achievements, he said 500 km of roads were graded, 120 km resealed, 80 km graveled and minor rehabilitation and upgrading carried on additional 50 km.