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SATURDAY, 25TH NOVEMBER, 2017- ZEBILLA UPPER EAST REGION.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press. We wish to thank you for your swift response to our invitation to be part of today’s engagement. We intend to keep this very brief.
Ladies and gentlemen, you will recall that following the numerous calls from the Zugraan Bawku Naaba and overlord of the Kusaug traditional area; Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, opionion leaders, civil society organizations and road users especially market men and women, a contract between the government of Ghana and Queiros Galvao, a Brazilian construction firm renowned for their high quality standards globally was signed.
H.E John Dramani Mahama former president of the republic then cut sod for the construction of this life changing and transformational road project on Monday, 11th July, 2016 at Lamboya near Zebilla.
Actual construction work then began in the last quarter of 2016 to the admiration of the chiefs and people of Kusaug. The commencement of the project provided job opportunities to many people in the area especially the youth, directly and indirectly, significantly improving upon the quality of lives of the beneficiaries.
Following the 2016 polls and subsequent change in government, many citizens expressed fears about the fate of this project under our new President, H.E Nana Akufo Addo. Indeed, there were claims and assertions suggesting that the contract was reviewed downward in terms of form and structure and many amenities contained in the original design were removed.
Ladies and gentlemen despite the numerous assurances by the government and in particular H.E the President, it now appears that these assurances were mere deceptions. To our utter shock and disbelief work has recently halted on the road. H.E Nana Akufo Addo while on a thank you tour early this year, reassured the Zugraan Naaba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II and his people of his government’s commitment to complete all ongoing projects in the area including the Bolga- Bawku- pulmakum Road. He again gave assurances during his working visit to the region in October this year. We now urge the President and his government to walk the talk.
Clearly frustrated by the government’s feet dragging attitude and show of no commitment to the project, Queiroz Galvao, the main contractor having completed about 40km of the 110 km stretch has resorted to halt work citing huge arrears owed suppliers. 300 employees were dismissed on Monday and only yesterday, an additional 200 employees were dismissed representing close to 90 percent of employees. As at we talk now, 95 percent of equipment on site have now been moved to the company’s yard at Binguri directly opposite the Binduri District Assembly. We invite you the press to take a tour of the site to see things for yourselves after this presentation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Our sources indicate that the contractor has raised a total of thirteen certificates so far but has only received a paltry amount from the government paid in March 2017. This situation led to massive layoffs and now the project has been halted pending the release of funds from government.
This road is one of the most important roads in the country given its economic viability and the number of lives that depend on it for survival.
We are therefore at a complete loss as to why government feels that we do not deserve a top quality project.
We ask, what is our crime as a people? Vehicles are breaking down every hour, traders are losing businesses every market day, we can no longer wear decent attire whiles in transit on that road, armed robbers attack regularly, it takes a whole day to travel a journey that should last just one hour. The situation is so devastating and yet the government isn’t concerned about our fate? Must we remain spectators and not citizens in this matter?
We want government to know that the time to talk is over and that we need action and not explanations.
We therefore demand the immediate release of funds from government to get the contractor back to site.
On this note we wish to state that government should sort the contractor out within the coming week or face our wrath. This road is so dear to hearts and shall stop at nothing to ensure that it continues uninterrupted.
We wish to thank the Zugraan Bawku Naba and overlord of the Kusaug traditional area; Naba Asigiri Abugrago Azoka II, opinion leaders, civil society organizations and the road users especially market men and women, for their patience and endurance this far. We urge them to remain resolute in this quest for fairness and equity.
It is clear that the government is not moved by diplomacy and therefore the only resort left is to speak in a language the government understands. We are absolutely concerned about the status of the road and our efforts to get it fixed shall be relentless.
Thank you for coming.
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