Uncertainty surrounds President Akufo-Addo’s plan to construct a bridge over the Oti River to connect Krachi East Municipality with Nchumuru District, all in the Oti Region has hit a snag and failed to take off for the last thirteen months due to lack of support from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
The Dutch Company, FDN Group, earmarked to be awarded the contract in July last year, has still not moved equipment to the site.
Under the proposed contract, the Dutch firm was expected to construct a stretch crossing the Oti River. But up to now, no activity has taken place. The Dutch company, FDN is funding the project. This paper reliably learned that officials of FDN and residents are worried about the state of the project.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has promised the Chiefs and people of the Oti Region that his government was on course to get a bridge over the Oti River.
Determined to outsmart John Mahama, President Akufo-Addo hurriedly disclose to build a bridge across the river when he addressed a durbar of Chiefs and people of Dambai in the Oti Region while on a three-day tour of the Oti and Volta Regions in 2019.
Further, the President announced to the gathering that the feasibility studies have been completed and that the financial terms of the project were being examined by the Ministry of Finance. He said the Roads Ministry is anxiously waiting for a ‘no objection letter’ from the Finance Ministry.
Despite the commitment and assurance given to the Chiefs and people of the area by the President about his government readiness to start work on the bridge, the Ministry of Finance has refused to issue a no-objection letter for the construction to begin.
The ruling party, New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) may have kick-started their campaigns ahead of the 2020 general elections, as both parties boasted to capitalize on each other’s weaknesses in wooing voters at the forthcoming election.
For the NDC, they would present to Ghanaians the failure of the NPP-led government to deliver on its promises as a reason for the electorate to reject them and bring the former ruling party back to power in 2020.
As part of the opposition NDC’s attempt to confirm their loyalty to the people of Oti, John Dramani Mahama, Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), had earlier indicated his will continue with the construction of a bridge over River Oti if voted back to power in 2020.
According to former President Mahama, a feasibility study was done prior to the 2016 elections, but his government lost power and so he could not execute the project, adding that, he would fix the bridge to facilitate transportation in the Oti Region.
According to the locals, the drowning of lives due to the incessant occurrence of boat mishaps in the riverine community in the villages of Dambai and the needless waiting hours for pontoon before one could cross the river is disturbing.
As per the initial deadline, the project should have been completed by 2021. The deadline has been automatically extended but still the project is heading nowhere.
Expressing his disappointment toward the delay of the project, a member of the governing party in the region who agreed to speak to us on strict anonymity, said was hoping the Contractor was going to get clearance to move to the site before the Ghanaians go to the polls.
For him, that’s the only way, the New Patriotic Party could dilute the NDC’s dominance in the area. According to him, the creation of the Oti region would not be enough to sway NDC’s support.
We need to do something extra-ordinary, he said
In spite of being one of the ambitious projects, the plan construction of the bridge has been stalled due to reasons reserved to the government. The sluggish attention to the construction of the bridge has disappointed the locals.
The dreams of many people in the region who were elated to see the progress of the bridge after so many years lament that they may have to wait for a few more years for the start and completion of the bridge.
This paper can confirm that the construction of the Oti bridge was not captured in the 2019 and 2020 Appropriation Act as a constituency/regional project with allocation.
The original concept of this project is to replace the overused pontoon and make it easier for road users