Leadership and project management expert, Dr Donald Agumenu, has called on key stakeholders to prioritise the establishment of an independent Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) body to validate value for money and ensure quality assurance for infrastructure projects across the country.
He said such an institution would serve as “a clearing house for projects, especially at this moment where cost of infrastructure is growing at an alarming rate.”
“It is unfortunate to note that many projects especially roads begin to develop potholes just few months after construction, causing motorists huge discomfort and carnages. The Roads Ministry must look at an efficient way of sponsoring road projects having in mind a clear scope, cost, time and quality,” Dr Agumenu added.
Expressing his disgust at the nature of roads from Denu to Ho, Dr Agumenu said he doubted if we could mobilise enough revenue for development at their neglect.
“For instance, the road connecting from Ketu North through Akatsi North on the Dzodze-Xevi stretch and that from Weta to Xevi through Kpetoe has become a death trap. Same applies to Akatsi-Dakpa and many others across the country. It is important at this moment for us to give those roads a top priority so that we can mitigate road crashes and improve trade,” he stated.
According to Dr Agumenu, Volta region roads adjoining entry points to Togo are the conduits for haulage trucks loading from the Lome Port and for onward transit movements to Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
He said if Volta roads are prioritized and put in good shape, they will complement efforts by the Togolese government that has invested massively in dual carriage ways to boost and harmonise trade.
He posited, saying, “It is gratifying to underscore the fact that, the ECOWAS Corridor road connecting to Akanu and Aflao are in good shape. However, few kilometres from Aflao Police Station to the only mega Diamond Cement factory, serving almost the subregional market is a complete shame.
“In my recent visit to Togo, I realized that villages that hitherto had no roads and some smaller towns that were not properly connected to the capital city now have dual carriage roads.
“We are also impulsely indebted by obligation to put our roads in shape in the West African spirit of trade harmonization. As hosts of the African Continental Free Trade Area, that step is needed to boost intra-trade.”
“Look at Kpetoe which houses the CEPS Academy. That institution must be given a facelift with state-of-the-art facilities not only as a training academy for Ghana Revenue Authority or CEPS but as a regional centre of excellence to train customs officers, business leaders, captains of industry/trade and customs officials within ECOWAS.”
Dr Agumenu added that the training unit of the CEPS Academy in Kpetoe could also serve as a post-graduate University to build cutting edge capacity for a proper take-off of trade, industrialization and harmonization of existing and new protocols.
He lamented that the road linking Kpetoe, where this strategic state facility responsible for training officers from all angles is not in good shape. “We must do something quickly,” he said.
Dr Agumenu further observed that aside from the roads helping to improve trade facilitation, there are benefits for smooth haulage of farm produce to the cities and for export.
“Akatsi North especially remains a virgin ground for agriculture production. And if that environment with roads leading from other connecting constituencies within the region can be properly looked into, then the negating factors within the agricultural value-chain can be solved or largely mitigated. The size of land, vegetation and climatic condition are conducive to the cultivation of many food crops. This area should become one of the country’s major bread baskets with the right investment and projections,” he explained.
“Beyond the debates, I think the time is riper to embark on a national monitoring and evaluation campaign to access the health status of the already existing roads, newly constructed ones and works in progress,” he stated.
“I am respectfully appealing to the Minister of Roads, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Road and Chairman of the Road Fund to take a tour among other things on some critical roads in the country including those in the Volta region as a matter of urgency. After getting the factsheet and reports on the state of our roads, I believe they will take immediate action, and set priorities right, ” he stressed.