It has emerged that the expected initial funds of £68 million meant for the resumption and completion of work on the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakong road is yet to receive cabinet and parliamentary approval.
Though Roads and Highways Minister Kwesi Amoako Atta in August this year said the government had secured the said amount from an European bank to ensure the completion of the road project, the loan facility is yet to receive the necessary approvals.
Speaking at a durbar of chiefs in Binaba in the Bawku West District during a two-day working visit of the Upper East Region by President Nana Akufo-Addo earlier in August this year, Roads and Highways Minister, Kwesi Amoako Attah said “The NPP government has done a lot of work and the contractor is back on the road. The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has issued a mandatory letter to ICBC Standard Bank of the United Kingdom to release an initial amount of £68 million as the first tranche and by the time we tackle the second tranche, we would have spent £128 million.”
But speaking in an interview with Accra based Citi FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com, Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways Anthony Abayifaa Karbo explained that the said money is yet to hit the accounts of the Brazilian construction firm Queiroz Galvao.
According to him, securing the money as stated by his boss does not mean the money is currently readily available to the contractor through the funding facility by the ICBC standard bank in Europe was put before the government by the Brazilian construction firm.
“It takes a lot of time. It doesn’t just take the Minister of Finance to issue a mandate letter [because] you are taking a loan that is adding to your national debt. You must be sure that this loan is not going to jeopardize your debt situation. It doesn’t mean that once the minister gives the mandate letter that is the end of the story, no. It doesn’t mean the money will come. It has to go to cabinet from the ministry of finance mandate letter to the ministry to go ahead with the design and look at the commercial agreement and lawyers must sit down to put this commercial agreement together and a cabinet memo must be put on it and it must get through the cabinet mail. Don’t forget you are not dealing with only roads, you are dealing with all the ministries in this country that are putting proposals before cabinet” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
He further stated that it would take some time for the proposal to go through the cabinet sub-committee level before it gets to parliament for deliberations and a possible joint sitting between the Roads Committee and the finance committee of parliament.
“Once the committees deliberate it comes back to plenary and the loan is approved. Once it is approved, then the contractor also begins to trek in London with the bank to look at when the disbursement will be made,” he added.
Anthony Karbo noted that once the mandate letter from the Finance Minister had been issued, it was within right for Mr. Amoako Atta to say government has secured the facility.