If every community in Ghana had a shining star like Pokuase does now, one could imagine how paying taxes, property rates, ground rents and some nuisance taxes will be less burdensome and a ready welcome by communities.

Some of us have paid taxes from day one; continue to pay property rates and ground rent continuously without fail.  Yet mere 100 to 200-metre link roads leading to our homes have remained dusty and bumpy to this day. 

The assemblies and housing companies never fault on their annual demands to residents and homeowners. Yet, some residents have had to construct their own outside drains and provided their own street lights for security. 

Unsightly structures spring up all over, and the Assemblies, present in our communities, watch on.

The system continues to disregard the voices of those taxpayers who pay their salaries and provide other pecks.

And since community lives do not matter to them, one has given up brooding over the unjustified treatment by community masters who seem to be only interested in the taxes from residents with no reciprocal services. 

I have rather decided to channel my energy to rejoicing and celebrating with joyful communities who receive developments and notable landmarks, some of which make these communities a “travel and see”, a tourist attraction of some sort.

Pokuase interchange

So last Friday, I stayed glued to my television set and rejoiced with the chiefs and people of Pokuase as a 4-tier modern interchange was commissioned by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo. 

The $84m interchange, we are told, is the first of its kind, not only in Ghana but also in West Africa.

That is a wow moment for our Ghana and loud applause to the Ministry of Roads and Highways led by Kwasi Amoako-Atta. 

Completing that gargantuan project in a matter of 36 months is commendable. The daily road users and residents undoubtedly suffered immensely during the construction period, but the end has indeed justified the means.

My very first visit to neighbouring Abidjan was in 2003. Before then, I had visited Yamoussoukro. I must say I was highly impressed with Abidjan roads, bridges and interchanges.

As a young girl, I remember how my mother, who had made some visits to Abidjan in the 1960s, used to speak highly of their clean city with its beautiful roads.  I never imagined any of that until I experienced it when I visited.

So if the Pokuase effect in Accra has run ahead of notable flyovers in West African cities like Lagos, Abuja, Yamoussoukro, Abidjan, Dakar, Banjul, Lome, Freetown, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Monrovia and many others, to produce the first 4-tier interchange in West Africa, then there is something to be proud of. 

The people’s taxes, including the road users, have shown some results that will empower and transform lives.

Social projects

What makes this gargantuan project started in 2018 even more exciting and highly commendable is that the 36-kilometre construction was not only just a road construction but one that fixed other social, educational and commercial projects to the benefit of the various communities along the interchange.

Talk about the footbridges, widening of the portion of the Nsawam Road, drainage works, street lights and the rehabilitation of a Women’s Centre to facilitate commercial and life empowering ventures for women. 

The added-on projects also include an Information and Communications Technology Centre (ICT) laboratory for 14 basic schools in the community to help train some 10,000 basic school children within the municipalities.

That is what communities are expecting their taxes to do for them. We need more of such forward-looking projects in orphaned communities across the country.

 Over the years, the Pokuase-Nsawam road has been my get-away route to Kumasi. It was a near hell navigating traffic right from Achimota to John Teye junction and through Pokuase onward. However, the interchange has made life really simple and less tedious.

Last month on my way to Kumasi and back, I used the Awoshie to Pokuase new road and had the privilege to go on the 4-tier interchange even before its inauguration.  It was a joy to see how our taxes can work for us.

Such interventions make one wonder why it has taken us so long. What one needs now are clear directional signs and a good maintenance schedule. 

One would like to plead with the authorities to enforce utmost discipline by users of the interchange. Lawlessness and impunities must be stamped outright from now to keep the interchange safe for everyone.

May the shining star of Pokuase and all the social, educational and commercial fixes be a benchmark in the transformation strategy for our roads and highways.

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The writer can be reached via email at vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com