Work on over 14,000 smart streetlights to be dotted across the capital, Accra, spanning a distance of about 440km of roads, is expected to be completed by March 2021, according to the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).
The project, signed under the Ghana Compact Two Agreement, will be funded by MiDA to the tune of about 9.89 million US Dollars.
It will see the installation of new energy-efficient low-maintenance street lights and the replacement of malfunctioning street lights within selected areas of Accra.
In an interview with Citi News the Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management Project Manager at MiDA, Sylvester Ashong Ayayee, explained that works will be done concurrently on the three lots that the project has been sectioned into.
“We realized that street lighting is a major problem in Ghana. A lot of the street lights are not working and those which are working are using the high-pressure sodium bulbs which consume a lot of electricity. So by this project, we want to reduce heat load as well as improve the system reserve margin.”
“So the project has been divided into three lots. We have the West of the Central Business District which is Lot 1; we have the Central Business District of Accra which is Lot 2 and the East of the Central Business District which is Lot 3. Actual works commenced in August and then we’re hoping to finish at the end of March 2021. So we have three separate contractors who are working on the various lots so we’re working simultaneously on the various roads. For Lot 1, we have Elsewedy Electric T&D Limited, for Lot 2 we have Prefos Limited and then for Lot 3 we have Process and Plant Automation Limited.”
The government of Ghana in February 2020 applied for portions of funds from the Millennium Development Authority to facilitate poverty reduction through economic growth.
A portion of the Ghana Compact Two Agreement is being invested in the Street Lighting Replacement Contract which will be executed under three separate contract lots.
However, the project was expected to have started in March 2020 and completed by the end of the year.
But as Sylvester Ashong Ayayee explains, the onset of the Coronavirus is mainly to blame for the delay in commencement of work.
“The materials delayed in coming because of COVID-19. Most of the factories were closed during the COVID-19 period. We were originally expecting the materials to arrive in March but then they started arriving late June, early July; so work commenced only last month. We are hoping to finish at the end of March next year.”
The completion of the project will bring relief to many road users in the capital, as the absence of functioning streetlights have been blamed for quite a number of the road crashes and highway robberies recorded across the country.
However, the maintenance and repair or replacement of the non-functioning or damaged infrastructure remain a challenge because the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies who are primarily responsible for this have constantly decried insufficient funds.
But Mr Ayayee further stressed that while MiDA will be bearing the cost of the installations, the cost of maintenance and repair works is to be borne by the various MMDAs within which the street lights are erected.
“The moment the project is finished and commissioned, we will hand over operations and maintenance to the Assemblies. According to the street lighting policy, they are supposed to do the operations and maintenance of the street lights. So we are helping to install these new street lights but in terms of operations and maintenance, that’s under their mandate. So they will be doing that.”
“So these street lights are low-level maintenance street lights. So in terms of maintenance, it wouldn’t cost a lot. Obviously, the Street Lighting Levy is supposed to address the operations and maintenance for these street lights but that’s not our mandate. Obviously, you have to start from somewhere so we are helping to provide the street lights so I’m sure the MMDAs would as well go ahead with their mandate and make sure that the operations and maintenance are up to speed in providing the operations and maintenance facility. Because at the end of the day, the street lights have to be installed before you can maintain them, so that’s where MiDA comes in to provide the funding for the street lights.”