Ghana: Roads Are Too Important to Socio-Economic Lives to Be Ignored

Roads, including the bridges on them, help every country (and even neighbouring states) to connect to communities for travel and transportation of goods and services.

In a country like Ghana, where rail transport is virtually absent, it takes only the roads for the people to get access to employment, education, tourist sites, health facilities and what have you.

In fact, roads have the potential to fight poverty because if nothing at all, it helps people to travel elsewhere to offer services or market farm produce, especially in the case of rural dwellers.

In a word, we can say roads open up places and improve the socio-economic lives of the people.

In spite of the critical importance of roads, some political administrations care less about them, particularly those in rural areas.

Sometimes, one wonders if certain communities are really part of the country, simply because they lack access roads and even where they have them, they are so bad that visitors do not like repeating visits to those places.

Some rural communities are totally cut off any connection to others, especially when it rains.

In fact, the Ghanaian Times finds it curious to learn that even in the US, in spite of the fact that rural roads and bridges are an essential component of its economy, rural transportation network lacks the necessary funds for proper infrastructural maintenance.

This makes us wonder if it is deliberate attempts by governments to leave rural folks to their fate despite their enormous contribution to the Gross Domestic Product and exports.

We think the narrative should change, which is why we agree with the Director of Planning of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Mr Sitsofe David Addo, that the government should pay equal attention to constructing new roads and maintaining existing ones.

He says it is worrying that 96 per cent of road investment is used to build new roads and only 4 per cent used to maintain existing ones.

The Ghanaian Times believes Mr Addo's call is legitimate and one made on behalf of the voiceless, who mostly use rickety commercial vehicles and so suffer the effects of bad roads and in some cases walk various distances to various destinations because drivers would not ply the bad roads to their communities.

It has been said elsewhere that roads enhance good health and this is hard to contest. What are the health implications of people travelling long distances carrying their bags and other loads?

While supporting Mr Addo, the Ghanaian Times would like to appeal that the government should check all activities that destroy our roads. The first, is our poor maintenance culture, which smacks of carelessness.

The bureaucracy to release money for maintenance is also a problem.

We should also check those who repair breakdown vehicles, spill oil and do all manner of things on the roads and those who wash their vehicles on the road.

We should also check the quality of work done on the roads.

We vehemently support the construction of more roads, but we need the existing ones to be always motorable.

More From: Ghanaian Times

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