The Ghanaian middle class has raised an eyebrow concerning the huge sums of monies that government spends on projects, which at the long run do not meet the expectations of many ordinary Ghanaians, writes ‘Business Day Ghana’
A notable example is the expansion works at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, which cost government 250 million dollars to expand from a 200 to 420-bed capacity hospital. The project, funded by the Exim Bank and HSBC, is expected to make the hospital a 24-hour diagnostic and treatment facility. In contrast, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is set to construct a state-ofthe- art 1,000-bed capacity hospital in Kano, a commercial hub in northern Nigeria, for 12.4 million dollars. The hospital will come with a variety of featuresincluding 10 operating theatres, three intensive care units, patients’ wards and administrative/service rooms for doctors and nurses. “It is not just about building a best in class medical facility in Kano state; it is about fulfilling our commitment to sustainably improving the health and well-being of Nigerians,” a statement from the Dangote group said.
When reached for comments, a civil engineer, Mustapha Seidu Tanko, said “If Dangote, were to use the same USD 250m that was spent on Ridge Hospital, the expansion works could have built Ghana 20 more 1,000 bed capacity hospitals.”
Recently, the 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said the high cost of projects has provided fertile grounds for breeding corruption, citing the case of the Ridge Hospital rehabilitation which he said was highly inflated. Another sad example is the money the government spent on the expansion works at the Kotoka International Airport. For example, the King Shaka International Airport is the primary airport serving Durban, South Africa. The entire project cost the South African Government USD 900m.
Kotoka International Airport will not stand in comparison with King Shaka, but the expansion works at the airport cost Ghana USD 405m. “We are probably more expensive because we borrowed money instead of using our own money to build. When you build a house yourself, it seems to cost less,” Jude Osei, a building contractor with 20 years’ experience in the real
estate industry has explained.
Infrastructure projects are good and efficient when they get to match the country’s economic needs by lifting the standard of living of the population.
Like some African countries, corruption remains a serious issue which restrains a proper channeling of funds to the appropriate projects and increases the cost of contracts. This results in inefficient use of resources and economic complications remaining longer than they should. According to the Transparency International, Ghana is ranked 56 out of 168 countries with a score of 47/100, which was slide back from the previous year.
Although the government of Ghana has started pursuing the corrupt in the country, there still remains room for improvement.