General News of Sunday, 21 July 2019
Government has announced a contractor is set to start work on a dusty road in Teshie, a respiratory nightmare, following a campaign by Multimedia Group Ltd to get it fixed.
The Information minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said a Dubai-based company M/S DSR Holding Inc had offered to commercially fund the construction of the 7.5km road.
The announcement was made and contained in a lengthy explanation on why the road commonly referred to as LEKMA road had taken so long to fix despite a yearly clamour by residents.
A statement made available to the press told of how the current contractor is set to become the third in four years after two previous ones failed.
The first was Malin Investment Ltd, awarded the contract in June 2015 and was expected to finish work by June 2017.
The contractor complained of payment delays during a period of more than a year in which he was paid more than ¢25,4m in four tranches by November 2016.
He abandoned site in September 2016 after he officially activated a clause that allows the company to suspend work over persisting delays in payment.
By May 2018, the Ministry of Roads and Highways re-engaged the contractor to continue work, paying his some ¢4.98m to continue work. According to the Information ministry he did not, compelling government to contractually terminate his work in July 2018.
Government’s dealing with Malin Investments is now a subject of out-of-court talks after the company sued for wrongfully termination with an outstanding ¢20.5m to be paid.
The second contractor M/S Hajaig Construction was engaged in September 2018 to complete the outstanding work and began on November 29, 2018.
But after “negligible progress”, the single-sourced contractor was fired. The new contractor M/S DSR Holding Inc comes as June 2019 marked four years after the first contractor was engaged to do the Teshie road project.
The statement does not explain the timeline of his engagement as it did the others but states the company has been awarded a single-sourced contract approved by the Public Procurement Authority.
The Dubai-based company’s proposal is expected to raise funds from the Development Bank of Belarus and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).
The Ministry of Finance and Parliament are also expected to provide approval. Meanwhile, the Roads and Highways Ministry and the company have agreed on a contractor who is expected at the site soon.
The Multimedia Group latched on to a campaign began by one of its flagship programmes, the Joy FM Super Morning Show with Daniel Dadzie, highlighting the plight of commuters.
The road has been linked to failed pregnancies for women travelling the bumpy stretch and an expectant mother told the Joy FM’ Super Morning Show, she preferred to walk through the dust to attend ante-natal at the LEKMA hospital.
The hospital has also complained, its dust-sensitive equipment – Oxygen plant, CT Scan machine, analysers – frequently break down or have to be replaced as billows of dust settle on patient files and equipment.
As the campaign entered its second week, the MP for Ledzokuku Dr. Bernard Oko Boye expressed frustrations that he had exhausted more effort to get the road fixed than he had on any other concern within his constituency.
He indicated he has braced himself for any verdict of the constituency as 2020 elections looms. The road is believed to have claimed the parliamentary career of his predecessor, Benita Sena Okity-Duah.
With the latest announcement following the #FixLekmaNow campaign, the politician may now relax his brace.