I do not wantto believe that you are descending intothe debate. That is why I am saying that itis complementary to what I am saying. Mr Speaker, the need for a reform ofhow Parliament conducts its Business isat the heart of it. That is the issue that Iam raising and that is why I am sayingthat, it was complementary to what I amsaying; otherwise, we shall remain in thisquagmire. Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority ChiefWhip raised some issues about dollarrating in the cost. I think it is significant,but there are some matters that one alsohas to look at. For instance, in 2007, whenan amount was budgeted for the project,it was not utilized at all. Mr Speaker, in 2009, there was nobudget at all for it, yet an expenditure ofGH¢11,557,368.00 was made against nobudget. How did it happen? I am sayingthat, if our Committees were workingproactively, these things would nothappen. And the Ministers would bestopped in their tracks.
Mr Speaker, there are many things thatone could look at. For instance, theCommittee informs us, and it is capturedon page 9 of the Auditor-General's Reportthat, by way of explaining the costoverruns — Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
“Other major changes to the projectdesign were as follows: i. Mile 7 and Ofankor bridges wereredesigned from 4-span to 19-span.
ii. Tantra Hill bridge was changedfrom 3-span bridge of 1,495m3reinforced concrete to 2,674 m3reinforced concrete boxunderpass. iii. The retaining walls were alsoincreased from a length of 750 mto 12,000 m.”
Mr Speaker, I do not believe that. What is the length of that bridge? That12,000 m translates to over 8kilometres. Itcannot be. So, if anybody is justifyingthe cost overrun by citing that, that is ahumongous exaggeration — [Laughter]—What is that? It is on page 9 of the Auditor-General's Report and Mr Speaker I beg toquote:
“The retaining walls were alsoincreased from a length of 750 m to12,000 m” Mr Speaker, I thought 1,200 m perhapswould be reasonable — 12,000m —8 kilometres of retaining walls. Where isit? And they justify the cost overrun bythis example. Mr Speaker, I would want to suggestthat, as obtains elsewhere, whenGovernment agencies do designs, they arereferred to other bodies for vetting. In otherwords, due diligence would have to beconducted in any drawings, architecturalor engineering, that are done bygovernment agencies. It obtainselsewhere. Why can we not do it? Mr Speaker, there should be awatchman watching the watchman. Otherthan that, we shall always have problems. Mr Speaker, the process of procurementthat the Committee has related to — Theyhave even indicated the timespan and
suggested to us that, there was noreasonable explanation on time allocatedby the body that was in charge of theprocurement and it appears that, a fewthings also happened there in the process. Mr Speaker, the interest on delayedpayments is something that we haverelated to and my Hon Colleague, the HonMember for Adaklu (Mr Govers KwameAgbodza) emphasised that point. Weshould be careful as a nation. This isbecause, in the contracts at the Ministryof Roads and Transport, they wouldusually insert that, whenever one raisesinvoices and one is not able to pay within90 days, it should attract lending rateinterest. So, they delayed for about two years,and when payment comes to be effected,because the interest rate is compounded,one would sometimes end up paying threetimes or perhaps 400 per cent of theoriginal amount for the same stretch ofroad. How does it happen? That is whymy Hon Colleague related to it that at theend of the day, a kilometre stretch wouldcost about over GH¢20 million. Mr Speaker, of course, he did not factorin the span. One would not get the sameamount if it was dual carriage. If it is athree or four lanes, the differences wouldreflect. So when we talk about averagingthe cost of road construction, one wouldhave to factor that in. We now have todivide it by the number of lanes to give usthe actual, and that should tell us thatmaybe, the stretch is about a US$1millionper kilometre or US$1.5million perkilometre, et cetera. But we should be concerned as anation that, from US$480,000, we are nowgradually moving up. Today, we are in theregion of about US$1.5 million to US$1.6per kilometre. It is untenable and we keepmaking this case over and over again.
Mr Speaker, I think that at the end ofthe day, the unfortunate thing is, we spendso much to construct roads and withinthree to four years, the asphalt overlaystarts peeling off and we would have todo them over again. We have neglected our railway system,yet, we all do know that, carrying bulkyitems would necessarily have to resortto rail networks, otherwise the cost ofconstructing roads in this country wouldrun the country bankrupt. Mr Speaker, it is important that we lookat rail construction. It would not be helpfulif we resort to only roads as the primarymeans of transportation to the neglect ofrailways and other means of transpor-tation. Mr Speaker, however, having said that,whoever should be sanctioned must besanctioned so that we set a trend for thiscountry that, people cannot act withimpunity. Question put and Motion agreed to.