Performance audit on roads by the Auditor General has shown that the Akufo Addo administration last year, paid 339% more for the upgrade of the Tetteh Quarshie/Madina road than had originally been budgeted for.
In May 2006, when the road was given on contract, the original cost was Ghc23million. However, by the time the project was completed in February 2019, the taxpayer had paid Ghc170million for the same road project.
The ballooned cost has been attributed a decade-long delay in the completion of the project which originally was scheduled for November 2009, after it was awarded on contract in 2006.
This road stretch is just 4.6kilometer long with two interchanges at the University of Ghana and Atomic Junction as accessories.
The Auditor-General found out that the cost build-up was due to a litany of variations, (aka, requests by the engineer to make changes to the form, quality and quantity of various parts of the road). As many as 25 variations were made to the original form factor.
Interestingly, the AG found out that 49% of the variations were not directly related to the project. He lists for instance, works carried out at the Accra Mall area, Spintex Road and the Lapaz community as costs that were factored into the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina road.
The cost of some 18 bridges was also factored into the cost of that same road. The AG laments that the variations were not done properly and according to law.
These variations, together with delayed payments, price fluctuations and contractors’ claim for extension of time, built up the cost into 339% more than what the taxpayer was supposed to pay for the same road.
An unhappy AG has since recommended that the Ghana Highways Authority come up with and implement a policy on processing payments within 56 days for contracts. He also wants officers who delay in doing so sanctioned
The report also recommended an early state identification of funding source for all projects to meet cost during implementation.