Posted on August 5, 2020 by Pnafrica
Parliament has approved a loan agreement of £48.3 million to finance the design and delivery of 89 prefabricated bridges for some selected locations across the country. The facility, which is made up of £41.2 million and £6.5 million is an agreement between the government of Ghana and Standard Chartered Bank, London, the agent, arranger, and structuring bank, with the UK Export Finance as the guarantor.
The agreement was presented to Parliament on June 23, this year by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs. Abena Osei-Asare, on behalf of the Minister of Finance which was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said the bridges are prefabricated modular steel Mabey Bridges as bridge superstructures for the Ministry of Roads and Highways and will have a depot at Akyem Kukurantumi.
The committee, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah said the project will enable the Ministry of Roads and Highways to improve upon the road network of the country for easy access to social facilities such as schools, hospitals, and markets. “The Ministry of Roads and Highways is currently implementing a rigorous programme to improve the condition of the country’s road network and related facilities. Under this programme, the road agencies, particularly the Department of Feeder Roads is rehabilitating and upgrading weak or broken log bridges with steel composite bridges and the construction of major box hovers and bridges over water crosses to reduce the bottleneck on the feeder road network”
He explained that “the Department of Feeder Roads has identified about 5,000 water crossing points in a very poor state, thereby hampering the improvement of some of the roads for rural dwellers and communities”. Besides, there were about 10,000 km of tracks that could not be improved without the installation of critical bridges or culverts, he added.
The chairman also bemoaned the poor state of existing roads which poses threats and inconveniences to commuters in several ways “The poor state of the roads has led to the loss of valuable productive work due to long travel time, increase in transport cost, disruption of international vehicular traffic to landlocked countries, fatigue, stress and frustration of the traveling public for the long travel times through alternative routes,” he pointed out.
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah noted that the committee was also informed that some areas had been tagged as “overseas areas” in some regions as they were inaccessible due to the lack of bridges.
He noted that the benefits to be derived from the project were increased access to hospitals, schools, and other social facilities as well as improve the movement of goods and people within the identified areas. It will also promote socio-economic impacts and improve the living conditions in the beneficiary areas.
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah said due to the urgent demand of the bridges in the selected areas, they will be immediately installed to ease access for rural dwellers and commuters and that the steel superstructures are only being stored at the ministry’s depot only as a holding area for onward deployment.
Seconding the motion, deputy ranking member of the Finance committee, Hon. Alex Adomako-Mensah noted that feeder road networks are the keys to unlocking development and prosperity in the country as it connects villages to towns and small cities.
The 89 prefabricated bridged are part of some 5000 bridges identified by the Ministry of Feeder Roads and Highways to be worked on across the country.
Story By: Emmanuella Dadugblor