The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has estimated that it will cost the government US$10 billion to fix all the dilapidated roads in Ghana.
The Minister said this when responding to a question from the media on Sunday, May 9, 2021, during a press briefing.
The question was meant to seek a response from the government following agitations by the #Fixthecountry movement, who are calling on the government to, among other things, fix the country’s bad road network.
The Minister recounted some social interventions provided to Ghanaians, especially the vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdown, including the provision of free electricity to one million lifeline consumers, the supply of free water to households, the free distribution of food packs to the vulnerable and the evacuation of stranded Ghanaians abroad.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to immunize about 20 million Ghanaians with COVID-19 vaccines, as it had begun bilateral discussions with global partners to secure the vaccines.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the government will, this month, start rolling out eight additional interventions under Ghana’s Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support Scheme (Ghana-CARES) programme, to create more jobs and boost the Ghanaian economy.
The 100-billion Ghana cedi programme, also known as “Obaatanpa” would witness the implementation of various projects in the health, agriculture, tourism, trade, digitization and technology as well as housing and social services sectors.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the government would also begin the implementation of a $250 million Jobs and Skills Development programme to create jobs in the private sector businesses, instead of expanding government employment schemes.
The Minister said, in the coming days, his outfit would collaborate with the Water Resources and Sanitation Ministry to address water challenges, especially in the urban centres to ensure regular flow of potable water from the taps.
It would also work collaboratively with the Ministries of Transport and Roads and Highways to tackle traffic congestion on the highways.
In July this year, he said, a new Development Bank would be set up to provide long-term financing to the private sector through commercial banks.
Mr Ofori-Atta noted that despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Ghanaian economy, the rate of growth of the public debt had been lower under the Akufo-Addo-led Government than under previous administrations.
“The rate of debt growth was lower despite massive investments in our flagship programmes such as the Free Senior High School Policy, Planting for Food and Jobs, NABCo, One District, One Factory, One Village, One Dam, restoration of teacher and nursing trainee allowances, while maintaining macroeconomic indicators and exchange rate stability,” Mr Ofori-Atta emphasised.
“We were elected not to complain or compare, but to get things done. To fix what is broken and Government and I are determined and committed to do just that,” he assured.
The Minister underscored the need to keep the healthy conversation and dialogue on fixing the economy going so that “we can have a collective action to deal with the country’s challenges”.
He announced the hashtag ‘Fix this together and save our country.