The Government is stuttering for explanation following its seeming silence on road projects in the Volta Region in the 2020 budget.
Even before the government’ could attempt a rather cogent reason for the omissions, the minority in parliament are calling on the Finance Minister to render an unqualified apology to the chiefs and people of the region within 48 hours.
According to Kwame Governs Agbodza, the NDC Member of Parliament for the Adaklu Constituency in the Volta Region, the omission is a deliberate attempt by the government to leave put the region because of their voting patterns.
While describing attempts by some government officials to explain the blunder as reckless, he said projects earmarked for the region must reflect in the budget or the NDC would know its next line of action.
But the Senior Minister has dismissed suggestions that the government deliberately ignored roads in the Volta Region in the 2020 budget.
Yaw Osafo-Maafo, reacting to the concerns, said even he was taken aback when he noticed every region had road projects listed in the budget except the so-called world bank of the governing party’s biggest opposition.
“It was obviously a mistake,” Mr. Osafo-Maafo clarified, adding that he had conferred with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who confirmed roads in the Volta Regions have been budgeted for by the government, he told Accra-based Citi FM.
“For the whole Eastern Corridor road we are doing, most parts of it will be done in 2020. A lot of the Eastern Corridor road passes through the Volta Region so you cannot talk about roads in 2020 without talking about the Volta Region,” the Minister said.
The Eastern Corridor roads [Asikuma Junction to Jasikan and beyond] have caused controversies among top politicians.
Outspoken MP from North Tongu in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, had posted on Facebook asking how the government could justify such an “aberration.”
“Why is provision not made in the 2020 Budget for critical road projects in the case of only the Volta Region…How does the Akufo-Addo Administration expect, particularly, MPs from the Volta Region to explain this to our constituents,” Ablakwa wrote.
According to him, unless the omission is an error, it will prove difficult for Members of Parliament in that region, to explain to their constituents why they were left out.
“More fundamentally, how will Government justify this aberration in the face of the 1992 Constitution which enjoins Governments to undertake even and balanced development in all regions,” Ablakwa charged.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, delivering the 2020 budget statement in Parliament on Wednesday stressed the government’s focus on the road network in the country.
He said, “to get the road sector moving and contractors back to work, government will pay 80% of all contractors.”
He said COCOBOD has also secured funds to continue with ongoing and new cocoa roads.