Debates of 28 May 2013

Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Proceed, Hon Member.
STATEMENTS 11:35 a.m.

Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP -- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the unique opportunity.
My Statement is captioned “The poor state of roads in the country: Focus on Nsawam-Adoagyiri Constituency”.
Mr Speaker, the importance of our roads extends to all aspects of development of our communities including demand for and access to health, education and information.
The strategic location of the Nsawam- Adoagyiri Constituency cannot be doubted, being so close to the nation's capital and serving as a corridor for workers in Accra and its environs. It further shares important boundaries with the Central Region. Unfortunately, important link-roads in the constituency are either undone or progress of work is at a snail's pace.
The popular Nsawam-Apedwa road, which is arguably the busiest highway in Ghana and Nsawam-Aburi roads are victims of either slow pace of work or outright neglect. The Nsawam-Aburi road which links various commercial farms in the region, as well as linking Aburi and other settlements on the Akuapim scarp has for long been in a poor shape. The delay in the completion of the Nsawam- Apedwa road is giving rise to otherwise avoidable road accidents, particularly on the Dobro-Lante stretch of the road.
Mr Speaker, potholes have developed in many areas of the country. These contribute enormously to accident rates and hence require urgent attention immediately. Potholes also cause
osteophytes in human bones, especially among people above forty years. Clearly, anyone who plies the aforementioned roads will have to take pain killers before sleeping at night because the roads are terribly bad!
The Road Fund was set up among others, to cater for potholes on roads across the country, my constituency inclusive. I am aware of the National Youth Employment Programme now Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA's) new model that ensures that potholes are sealed quickly; yet, admittedly, work being done on our roads by the GYEEDA is minuscule.
Many sections of the Adoagyiri- Adeiso road have been rendered almost impassable by potholes. Poor road network and poor state of the few roads in my constituency conspire to make it unattractive to both tourists and investors. In going further, Nsawam, once the hub of industry in the Eastern Region, is a pale shadow of its former self. This is sad and also regrettable.
Mr Speaker, other countries in the sub- region have relatively better road networks compared to ours. One can make mention of la Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, just to mention a few. la Cote d'Ivoire as at 2006 had a total road network size of 80,000 kilometres plus while Ghana, at the same period, recorded 62,221 kilometres. If the vision of making Ghana the gateway to the sub-region should materialise, then we should expand and improve our road network and take more seriously the general maintenance of it.

As a country, we need policy frame- work and effective monitoring and valuation system to support expanded
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Thank you very much. Except to say that, Hon Members, when you submit a Statement to Mr Speaker, try to stick to the four corners of that Statement. If for any reason you think there is a need to expand it, I believe you would have to bring the expanded version to Mr Speaker. You realise that what you read out is a far cry from what I have before me. That notwithstanding, we would go ahead and take contributions from both sides -- three from each side.
Mr George K. Arthur (NDC -- Amenfi Central) 11:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Hon Member's Statement.
To start from his constituency, we know the Road Fund was introduced to support the Government to work more on our roads, and any ordinary Ghanaian knows very well that once he pays the road toll, he expects to see a fair road to wherever he is going.
Let me take, for example, the toll booth on the Nsawam-Kumasi road. There are two toll booths and new ones are being built and they are going to make it about three. I know the Ministry of Roads and
Highways has a lot of plans to increase them to about six or more.
Mr Speaker, from Apedwa to Bunso Junction -- after paying your toll and expecting to have a very fair lane, you are greeted with a number of potholes -- and they are not small potholes, very, very dangerous potholes, which I think, once you have paid your toll, you expect such potholes to be filled. They have been there for over three years and nothing has been done about them.
Secondly, Mr Speaker, for those of us who come from the rural areas, we mostly depend on the feeder roads to hear our concerns. I decided to use my funds to work on one of the roads in my constituency which has seen no work for some time.
Mr Speaker, you know when the graders are working, children come round to see the operators working. One child asked a question, which in the beginning, I did not understand, but later, I got to understand it, that “Why does every vehicle move in the direction of the engine but this machine is going in the opposite direction?”
A man standing by shouted at the child and said, “Are you stupid? Can you not see that is the direction the machine works?” Another man standing by said: “Please, do not shout at the child. No child who is 15 years old in this town has seen this machine before, indicating that for the last 15 years the road has not been reshaped.
Mr Speaker, even after working on the road, for four years now, several attempts to get the Department of Feeder Roads to come to the road has proved futile. They are not responding to me -- I have gone there several times but they are not coming. It happens to other Hon Members.
Mr George K. Arthur (NDC -- Amenfi Central) 11:50 a.m.

It seems the concentration of work on our roads is either on the highways or on the urban roads, for the feeder roads in our villages have been neglected though we have District Road Engineers in every district.

I do not know how they take the data; I do not know how they communicate in the region. That is another one.

Mr Speaker, secondly, I think in 2008, a number of the District Assemblies bought Graders to support the work in the constituencies. But despite the purchase of these Graders, you go and some of the districts use them for hiring, without using them to do the work they were intended for. In fact, Mr Speaker, we need to bring some of these District Chief Executives (DCEs) to book.

I know very well that when the auditors are auditing the District Assemblies, they have to look at the work of these machines, not only the Graders, but I think the bull - dozers, rollers, tipper trucks, which were given by the National Security. It is National Security? They distributed such machines to the District Assemblies, including those ones that they bought. So, we need to take a second look at that.

After that, Mr Speaker, there are a number of our roads that have seen some level of construction, that is, we do the drainage. After the drainage, that is all.

Most of these drainages have not seen any work again, to the extent that erosion has started exposing the base of the gutters. I think if we do not do anything about them now, before we would realise, we would have to spend extra money in re-constructing them.

Last but not least, let me take the road from Agona-Nkwanta to Tarkwa. Mr Speaker, the road was given to an international contractor. I do not know what kind of material the contractor used --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, I prefer that you restrict yourself to the Statement as presented by the Hon Member.
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why I started from his constituency. I would want to chip in what is also going on in my constituency.
But thank you, Mr Speaker.
These are my concerns and I think if you consider all these things, I think it would help all of us.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, any contributions from the Minority side?
Mr David Oppon-Kusi (NPP -- Ofoase/ Ayirebi) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to that of the Hon Member who made the Statement on the road conditions in this country.
Mr Speaker, ever since I came to this Parliament, no year has passed without one form of Statement or other on the conditions of our roads. When it comes to Question time, the road sector tops all other sectors in terms of the Questions put to Hon Ministers. Obviously, something must be wrong in the road sector in terms of road delivery, maintenance and the kind of expectations the public has from the Ministry.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, can we have some order.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do you have any objection?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we want your direction on this matter. The Statement was a constituency one; it was based on his constituency. We would like to know whether it is a general Statement on roads in the country; so that we know the type of contributions we should be making? Mr Speaker, we want your direction on this matter.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
I believe that it is constituency-specific but to some extent, it can be generalised except that we should not sway off the main path.
Mr Oppon-Kusi 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as I was saying, the road sector is one of the best structured sectors in the country with a full dedicated Ministry, three dedicated agencies like Highways, Feeder Roads and Urban Roads.
Again, in addition to that, we have a dedicated Fund for road maintenance. So, one would ask the question, how come that with all these structures in place, with such a dedicated Fund as compared to other sectors, we still have problems with roads?
Considering the size of our country and the size of our budget, we should not be having the kinds of problems that pop up every year.
Mr Speaker, when it comes to bad roads, one of the causes is that we do not stick to our planned programmes. The Road Fund was established to take care of maintenance. As I speak, about 80 per cent of the monies expected to be generated from the Road Fund, we use them for road construction. So, the problem we face is that, we are unable to
stick to our programme for road maintenance. Whenever we construct roads, we invest a huge amount of money in this asset. What we have to do is to ensure that the investment in these assets are kept at the original value. For this reason, Mr Speaker, we need to ensure that any time that a budget is approved, that the Road Fund is made available only for road maintenance.
Mr Speaker, let me come to the main corridor that the Hon Member who made the Statement complained about. That is the major corridor for this country -- from the north to the south, from Ghana to her neighbouring countries. One is surprised that at the moment, the road which was started from Nsawam to Suhum is still under construction. Mr Speaker, I believe that we have not ordered our priorities properly. If we do order our priorities properly, we would have finished with this road by now.
Again, there are other links to the main road that need to be considered. Mr Speaker, it is my hope that following this Statement, the authorities that are in charge of our road sector would consider the call made by my Hon Colleague from Nsawam to ensure that the right things are done. That we use the Road Fund for the purposes for which it was established and that Government continues to invest in this most vital aspect considering that most of our transportation is done by road.
So, the lack of commitment, the lack of secured investment and the lack of commitment to our planned programmes are some problems that are facing our road sector.
Mr Speaker, let me talk about safety and accidents because --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, I think you are veering off the path. I think you have had enough time to address the issue as raised.
Mr Oppon-Kusi noon
Mr Speaker, I was just winding up on safety and accidents. I believe that it is about time we spent our money, time and expertise to ensure that accidents are reduced on our roads and that the right things are done.
Dr Kwabena Donkor (NDC -- Pru East) noon
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to associate with the general situation of some of our roads as ably espoused by the Hon Member for Nsawam- Adoagyiri.
Mr Speaker, the cause of this less-than- ideal condition of a number of our roads could be financial. But as a people, a new trend is also cropping up that goes further to worsen the state of our roads, that is, illegal speed rumps. Such illegal speed rumps that are cropping up -- if you take between Ejura and Yeji, if I am not exaggerating, there are, if I am not mistaken, close to a hundred illegal speed rumps within that stretch of the road.
And I believe these illegal rumps have the tendency of compromising the integrity of the engineering works on some of these roads. So, in associating with the Hon Member, I would like to ask the appropriate authorities to take all necessary corrective measures, so that the lifespan of road access are not unduly shortened.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Dr Owusu A. Akoto (NPP -- Kwadaso) noon
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
First of all, I have heard Hon Members talk of feeder roads not being maintained and not enough for our villages. Most of the discussion this morning has been about transportation of passengers from one area to the other. But in my view, a major constraint and a bottleneck for the development in this country is to do with farm trucks and feeder roads.
The linkages between farm producing areas and the consuming centres, in the urban areas, in the big towns and the big villages, especially at this time of the year when we have rainfall, most of the tracts are washed away or totally inaccessible. Constantly throughout the twelve months of the year, we hear about food being stuck in producing areas which cannot reach farmers, particularly maize and other cereals.
I think that when discussing road transport, we have to be very, very mindful of the constraining effect of lack of adequate tracts of roads to our farms and our major agricultural producing centres.
Having made this observation, Mr Speaker, I would like to turn our attention to the major arteries of roads in this country. In particular, when you come to my constituency, we have the Sofoline Interchange, which is a major outlet for food and individuals travelling to the Brong Ahafo Region and the Western Region, from Ashanti and neighbouring regions. This road project is long overdue for completion.
It was scheduled for completion three years ago and we are still struggling with the project as of now. I can tell you that when in the rainy season as of now, we find mud miles on end in and around the project areas and when it is in the dry season, dust is killing the residents in the area. And the bottlenecks which have persisted since the commencement of this project four years ago are totally intolerable.
I would like to appeal to the Ministry responsible for roads to ensure that this project is finally completed. This is because the Chinese are always complaining about the fact that they are not paid on time or the compensations to house owners along the route of that corridor are not paid and that is the cause of the delay. We cannot afford --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, I have allowed you a little -- time to talk about this.
Dr Akoto noon
Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
The Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is here, I do not know if he would like to make a comment.
Minister for Roads and Highways (Alhaji Amidu Amin Sulemani) (MP) noon
Mr Speaker, I have listened to my Hon Friend from Nsawam/Adoagyiri and my other Hon Colleagues.
Mr Speaker, for the past one month, I have been touring the country to acquaint myself with the situation on the ground. I do agree that our roads are not in the best of shape. But I have also indicated that it is just not an issue for only Government. Our road sector -- the issue is now for us as a people to collectively decide how we would fund our roads.
Mr Speaker, road construction is a very expensive enterprise where we need a lot of money. We are talking about the Road Fund and my understanding from the
records is that, since 2005, where we take 6 pesewas as levy per litre of fuel, we have not increased it. 2005 to now is a long period; our road network has increased --
So, Mr Speaker, we must accept, if we have to tackle the issue of our roads, as a people, we must be prepared to pay for them.
I sympathise with my Hon Friend from Nsawam. I come from a place where there are no tarred roads and I am making an effort to ensure that roads are tarred in that area. So, we have to work together. He raised an issue -- there is indiscipline; while the roads are being constructed, as a result of our behaviour, we are destroying them at the same time.
So, as a people, and particularly as Members of Parliament, we have to collectively educate our people on the need to preserve our road infrastructure, at least, the existing ones we have.
I also agree that the Road Fund was set up for maintenance. If in the past we have applied it to construction, we would get back to the routes and ensure that it is only used for maintenance. The only thing is that, the resources we have under the Road Fund are simply just inadequate to maintain our roads. That is the problem we have. So, we have to look at it collectively, how we can increase funding for our road sector.
So, I believe that when our Ministry comes to this House with certain proposals, since we all know the importance of roads, we would assist, so that we raise enough money to be able to maintain and construct new ones.
Mr Kwame Seth Acheampong (NPP -- Mpraeso) noon
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the Statement ably made on calling for proper maintenance as my Hon Colleague, the Member for Nsawam/Adoagyiri said.
Mr Kwame Seth Acheampong (NPP -- Mpraeso) noon

Mr Speaker, we need to take crucial the road infrastructure network of this country. If you visit any neighbourhood on this earth, the first point of infrastructure that attracts investments, that attracts people and makes them comfortable and make them live long, is the road infrastructure. This is because the moment you exit off your abode, you would hit the road infrastructure.

But Mr Speaker, at the same time, it is the least looked after infrastructure as far as our country is concerned. Mr Speaker, it is sad that as you travel along our major trunk roads, you will find broken down vehicles, heavy duty trucks and what are these costing us? Mr Speaker, the wear and tear of the roads, the lubrications, the oils which are within the engines that run these vehicles; as they break down unattended to and stand by the roads, they react to our roads.

If the roads are designed and the road engineers would tell you that roads are designed for certain number of years, to survive. But our road networks, even if they are designed for ten years in a matter of two years, they all fail. We have heavy potholes; if you look at our asphalt, concrete roads that we have in this country, all our major trunk roads have all failed. Any time you are on them, highly undulating, causing heavy accidents at a great cost to the nation.

Mr Speaker, I think we cannot just make it a constituency-focused matter, but this is a matter that we really need to look into. I am happy the Hon Minister just spoke about the fees. Within a short while, just in the last administration, we heavily increased our fees and charges that affected our road tolling in this country. Where is the collection of that road toll going to; it is truly a matter of fact that

road construction is expensive? A square kilometre of road construction is heavily expensive. But how are we preserving and protecting these roads. If we spend so much money to construct the roads, and we do not check those who are -- If you are not careful and you travel on our trunk roads at night, you would easily just have to come across a broken down vehicle that would end your life so sadly.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to call on the Hon Minister that we really need to look at our roads and look after them very, very well.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, I do not know if Leadership would like to make a comment or two, otherwise, we would bring proceedings to a close.
Hon Members, the House is accordingly adjourned to tomorrow -- Sorry, if I can get a Motion from the Hon Majority Leader supported by the Hon Minority Leader.
Dr Benjamin Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in the absence of any other Business, I beg to move, that the House be adjourned to 29th May, 2013 in the forenoon.
Mr Speaker, in so doing, I would want to use this opportunity to welcome Hon Members back to the House after this period of break. It is actually the hope of the House that Hon Members have had a deserved rest and are anticipating the nature of the business that we would be engaging.
Mr Speaker, we foresee that this being the Second Meeting of the House, we certainly will be saying that the period of honeymoon is over and Parliament will
certainly swing into action on all fronts, not only in relation to its primary legislative function but more significantly in the oversight responsibility of our various committees to make sure that we keep faith with the commitment of this Sixth Parliament.
I will use this opportunity to also indicate to our colleagues on the Executive side of Government that Parliament certainly will be poised and will ensure that there is prompt attendance to government business and that will be a matter that will be of primary concern to Hon Members and the Leadership of the House.
With this brief statement, Mr Speaker, I would like to welcome Hon Members and move that the House be so adjourned.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I do not know where we are floating. The Hon Majority Leader wanted to move a Motion for adjournment and I think he checkmated himself and then made some statement. I would want to float on his wings and also make some welcome statement.
Mr Speaker, our recess, I believe, has been worthwhile. It gave us the opportunity to visit our various constituencies to acquaint ourselves with firsthand information to facilitate certain development projects for our people. So, let me take this opportunity to welcome all of us back into the House to continue from where we left off.
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Majority Leader has intimated, the weeks ahead of us would bring various challenges and
difficulties and would test our capabilities as lawmakers and representatives. I would urge Hon Members to see these challenges and difficulties as oppor- tunities to prove to our compatriots, some of whom have become very critical, and even cynical that our Parliament can rise to the occasion and discharge our duties in pursuit of the national interest.
Mr Speaker, Parliament was recalled a few weeks ago to discuss two principal issues, notable among which were the distribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) and the approval of Deputy Ministers. Some of us were not really persuaded by the urgency of those assignments. Notwithstanding, Parliament met and, by a majority in the matter of the Deputy Ministers and by consensus in the matter of the DACF, approved of those two matters.
Mr Speaker, the next coming weeks would be very crucial in our lives as Members of Parliament, as we have to scrutinize, debate and pass or approve of many Bills and loan Agreements. The Hon Minister responsible for Finance sounded last week that Parliament would be called upon to scrutinize some Bills, which Government considers very urgent and approve of them. There are some outstanding matters that some Hon Ministers have to report to Parliament. We are standing by.
Mr Speaker, in our quest to ensure that we have a productive Session, I would entreat my Colleague Members of Parliament to be time conscious and participative in the activities of the Chamber, including the various committee meetings, so that substantial progress could be made. Mr Speaker, I envisage a situation where committees may become choked. In such event, I would entreat the particular committee to resort to the
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Are you seconding the Motion?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not know whether the Motion is still pending. Is it in abeyance? If it is -- Mr Speaker, I would beg to second the Motion. I thought it was in abeyance but now that I have been told that it has been activated, I beg to second the Motion so moved by the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Before I put the Question, I would direct that the Hon Member for Nsawam- Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh submits a copy of the Statement he read out, which is completely different from what was submitted, to the Table Office for purposes of record.
Thank you.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:10 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.08 p.m. till Wednesday, 29th May, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.