The Minority in Parliament has raised red flags over ongoing cocoa road projects across the country.
Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee, Governs Agbodza, insisted that, there are questions to be asked over the amount of GHS14 billion worth of contracts awarded for 4,600 km of roads under the cocoa roads project undertaken by COCOBOD through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture since 2017.
In answering questions in Parliament, the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, disclosed the projects were aimed at fixing the poor road networks in cocoa-growing areas.
But Governs Agbodza argued that the cost of the projects is inflated.
“Under the NDC, 2,900 kilometres of those roads cost GHS 5.1 billion. The question we should be asking is why the project cost in this country went up so astronomically under the NPP?” he asked.
He told the house that, under the current administration, “286 cocoa roads contract with a total length of 4465.89 kilometres have been completed for construction since 2019 at the cost of GH₵ 13.6 billion. The entire review process and project preparation were done upon several engagements and consideration with legacy group.”
Mr. Agodza who is also the Member of Parliament for Adaklu also accused the government of awarding the contracts on a single sourcing basis despite its election promise of opening up contracts for competitive tendering.
“If you listen to everyone in the NPP prior to the election, they said they were going to work to ensure that sole-sourcing becomes an exception, not a norm. But this government has awarded so many projects under sole-sourcing when they had the Ministry of Procurement”.
That is not all, the legislator is not also not happy with how the projects have been priced in foreign currencies, which he says flouts on the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) directive on the pricing of goods and services in the country.
“We also heard the Minister emphatically telling an untruth that he did not award any contract in dollars. I put it to him that, it is not correct. COCOBOD awarded contractors in flagrant breach of the President and Bank of Ghana’s directive that we shouldn’t price goods and services in foreign currencies”, he noted.