Here’s the problem: 70% of Ghana’s roads are in deplorable condition. Of them, more than half are not paved. Most are littered with potholes and deep ridges that lead to negligent driving and, in the worst cases, death.
And while most critics agree that government has at least tried to alleviate the issue, no solutions have arisen because of the constant change of administrations.
“Government upon government I’ve seen one party start a [road] project then the next party stops,” said Charles Adams, the Director of Transportation Research Centre at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. “Contractors then take their equipment and then the project is left abandoned.”
Cost is another problem, Adams added.
In some instances, contractors exceed the time period it would take for them complete construction. Projects that “should be six months take six years! Can you imagine how much interest they make on delays?”
There are resolutions, though. First, Adams proposes that public officials finish ongoing projects before they begin new ones, regardless of which party is in power.
Secondly, he advised, government should tap into the private sector.
“We got to find the money and encourage private sector capital to help. I don’t think the government can truly rely on the Road Fund alone to fund it. We need to introduce the private sector.”
The Road Fund is a pipeline funneled by government to finance the maintenance and rehabilitation of all public roads in the country.
The fund is underpinned by government levies on fuel, road tolls, vehicle inspection fees, amongst others.
Additionally, Ghana receives funding from the World Bank through its Output- and Performance-Based Road Contract . The international financial institution created the contract because they understand that “rural access is among the most important infrastructure elements to stimulate economic growth in rural and remote areas.”
But to really get to the root of the issue, Adams restates and emphasises that “we have to bring public and private partnerships to fix the roads.”