President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday cut the sod for the construction of Tamale Interchange, the first to be constructed at that part of the country.
It forms phase one of the US$2 billion Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) between the government and the Sinohydro Corporation of China to construct a number of infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, housing facilities and extension of electricity to rural communities across the country.
Under the MPSA, which government says is a barter arrangement; the government will deliver to Sinohydro, Ghana's manufactured aluminium products.
The arrangement required the establishment of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation, (GIADC) a statutory public corporation, to oversee the development and the utilization of the full value chain of the country's bauxite resources.
Speaking at the Jubilee Park in Tamale President Akufo-Akufo said the establishment of GIADC was to guarantee the country's vibrant aluminium industry, "and ensure that we live up to our end of the barter transaction."
"This innovative arrangement, the first of its kind on the continent, is not going to add to our country's total debt stock," he stated.
Each of the sixteen (16) regions will benefit from the Sinohydro arrangement - hospital projects, the extension of electricity to rural communities, construction of court and residential buildings for the Judicial Service, landfill sites and industrial parks are set to be undertaken.
These projects, President Akufo-Addo explained, are to be implemented on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis, and would be completed within thirty (30) calendar months after commencement.
"Government is also ensuring that, in accordance with the local content law, a minimum of 30% of works will be undertaken by Ghanaian contractors, and supervised by Ghanaian consultants. Thousands and thousands of jobs will be created for our youth, our country will be opened up for sustained growth and development, and, thereby, help put Ghana onto the path of progress and prosperity," he added.
The President charged the Ministry of Roads and Highways and its implementing agencies to ensure that adequate and proper supervision is given to all the works being undertaken, guarantee that the country gets value for money, and ensure strict adherence to completion dates.
Whilst urging contractors to be mindful of the environmental protection laws of the country, and institute measures to mitigate against the negative health impacts the projects may have on citizens, President Akufo-Addo stressed that "I will not countenance any delays in the execution and delivery of the various infrastructural projects. Thirty (30) months is thirty (30) months."
Under Phase 2 of the Sinohydro deal, which would come on stream after approval by Parliament, an additional 1,300 kilometres of roads, 3 interchanges, and 69 steel bridges will be constructed, at an estimated $850 million dollars.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)